No Need for Antibiotics Before Dental Appointments

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Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

If you have cardiovascular problems, especially heart valve concerns like mitral valve prolapse, you’ve likely been told to take “prophylactic antibiotics” before routine dental procedures. This practice has been the “standard of care” since about the 1970s, when the link was made between people dying of heart valve infections and recent dental cleaning or surgery.

You see, when bacteria in the mouth are loosened and released—sometimes directly into the bloodstream if the gums should bleed—they can generate infection. This can happen with any oral surgery, as well as the abrasive scraping along the gum line and tooth base that is part of traditional dental cleaning.  

Well, it looks like laser dental cleaning could be changing all that! After attending the naturopathic conference in San Francisco, we headed over to Fullerton, CA, where Dr. Sinatra met with Richard Hansen, DMD, FACAD, a dentist with some cutting-edge approaches.

Dr. Hansen told us about the fairly new use of lasers for cleaning the teeth (the Sterilase technique). So, we decided to give it a try it for ourselves.

Never would I have dreamed that a dental procedure could have been transformed into a virtual spa experience! Our hygienist, Laurene, had the gentlest touch! First she guided the laser along the gum line to kill microbes. The mouth is rinsed several times with aromatic essences of lavender, echinacea, and essential oils that soothe both mind and mouth as the teeth are cleaned without abrasion. The final baking soda and sea salt removes stains from the enamel.

Maybe it was the protective eyewear that transported me mentally to the beach, but the experience was both relaxing and refreshing. And knowing that we were enjoying a heart healthy practice—keeping the mouth clean and addressing any possible inflammation there that could impair the health of our hearts and our entire body—really made us feel good about the way we’d spent our afternoon!

I also learned that this Sterilase laser procedure is a sound preoperative treatment for anyone because “ridding the mouth of infectious agents and toxins reduces the risk of post-surgical infections.” It’s also key for a healthy heart.

Dr. Sinatra believes that this technique may start to decease—and even eliminate—the need for people with cardiovascular problems to take antibiotics before dental cleaning. Of course, you should always check with your own cardiologist, who knows you best.

In the meantime, be sure to maintain a healthy mouth if you want a healthy heart—it’s the portal to the entire body. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve seen your dentist, consider making an appointment for a laser cleaning today!

For more information on maintaining a healthy mouth if you want a healthy heart, visit www.drsinatra.com.
 

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