The fight against antibiotic resistance: how can dentists contribute?
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the biggest threats to health worldwide today. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that inappropriate and excessive use of these drugs is accelerating the process of antibiotic resistance. Can dentists contribute to solving this problem?
Antibiotics have been saving lives against deadly bacterial infections for nearly 80 years, but estimates from the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) alone show that more than 670,000 infections each year are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, with around 33,000 deaths as a direct result.
According to various scientific estimates, the prevalence of self-medication with antibiotics in Europe ranges from 5% to 45%, and as many as a third of prescriptions for antibiotics may be unnecessarily prescribed by doctors. This shows that there is a need not only to educate patients about the problems associated with antibiotics, but also to share up-to-date information with doctors on how to treat patients without antibiotics these days.
If antibiotics are not needed, choose Fitodenta
It’s nothing new that dentists prescribe analgesics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to patients after surgery, or antimicrobials to prevent infections. Edvinas Mileris, an implant surgeon working in Vilnius, Lithuania, and London, UK, notes that dentists could make a significant contribution to reducing the use of NSAIDs and antibiotics in their work by avoiding prescribing them to patients in some cases, if they were more aware of the latest tools for helping patients recover after dental surgery.
“Dentists often prescribe antibiotics to patients to prevent possible infections, but these unnecessary prescriptions cause serious harm. It is important to remember that antibiotics kill not only the bad bacteria that can cause infections, but also the good bacteria that protect our bodies from disease and help prevent other health problems. And a major problem worldwide is the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, which is the result of the overuse of these drugs in various fields,” says Dr Mileris.
Of course, there are situations where antibiotics must be prescribed, but Dr Mileris notes that even though the circumstances do not call for them, doctors fear that healing may be complicated, so antibiotics are the only solution.
“Doctors need to be aware that in cases where antibiotics are not necessary, there are measures that can help avoid the use of these drugs to prevent possible infections,” says implantologist Dr Mileris.
A team of Lithuanian biotechnology scientists has developed Fitodenta products for recovery after dental surgery. The unique formula of the product consists of a combination of cannabinoids that work synergistically with other active substances of botanical origin whose therapeutic effects have been described in the European Pharmacopoeia. “For example, if the guidelines and the patient’s condition do not require antibiotics, and I have doubts about prescribing them to a patient, then I choose not harmful alternatives. I have been recommending these products to my patients for five years now, and so far it has always worked,” says Dr Mileris, adding that Fitodenta products reduce the risk of complications after dental operations or other surgical interventions, as the ingredients in the product have anti-inflammatory, pain-reducing and healing-accelerating properties, and the effects have been confirmed by clinical trials.
Antibiotics are given to “protect” yourself?
Dr Mileris shares his experience of not rushing to prescribe antibiotics to patients if they are not needed. “We all need to understand that bacterial resistance is a global problem. On the other hand, from an individual point of view, antibiotics can lead to a variety of other health problems, such as weakened immunity, disturbed microbiota, etc. The less antibiotics we use, the better,” says the doctor.
One example of the daily work of implantologists: if a patient undergoes a standard dental implant procedure without bone restoration, there is no need for antibiotics.
“Sometimes, even after such a procedure, there can be a slight inflammation and swelling of the gums, which can make healing a bit more difficult. Especially young implantologists are often frightened in such situations and, fearing a possible infection, give the patient antibiotics. However, in such cases, I can confidently recommend Fitodenta products, which are an excellent solution to such problems and speed up the healing process,” says Dr. Mileris.
If the patient is prescribed an alternative remedy, such as Fitodenta products, they should be told why antimicrobial drugs are not prescribed in this case, at least for the time being, and the benefits of a remedy made from plant-based materials.
If antibiotics are unavoidable
Of course, if the dental implant procedure is complex and involves bone restoration, antibiotics cannot be avoided. In some cases, unpleasant sensations after dental implants can plague patients for up to two weeks. “My colleagues and I conducted a clinical study to see for ourselves that after more complex dental implant procedures, Fitodenta products significantly reduced pain and swelling, and when used in combination with traditional post-operative medications, including antibiotics, accelerated the healing process by as much as 40%,” says Dr Mileris.
Various data show that bacterial resistance to antibiotics remains one of the biggest health problems worldwide. While doctors are increasingly taking note of this, there is still room for improvement – to take responsibility and help patients get better without antibiotics.”
If these drugs cannot be avoided in certain cases, doctors must tell patients the most important rules for taking these medicines: only take antibiotics when prescribed by a doctor; stick to the course of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, and don’t stop as soon as you feel better; don’t take any antibiotics that are left over from a previous course of treatment; and don’t share or take antibiotics prescribed to others.
The WHO reminds us that antibiotic resistance can affect people of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and higher mortality. Responsible use of antibiotics is everyone’s contribution to preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics and reducing the rapid spread of antimicrobial resistance.
About the product
“Fitodenta, an unparalleled product developed by Lithuanian health innovation experts and validated by clinical consumer studies, promotes healing of the oral cavity after dental surgery. The kit consists of two products: a mouth spray and a cosmetic gel. Clinical user studies have shown that the best effect is achieved when both products are used together – the spray in the oral cavity on damaged gums and mucous membranes, and the gel externally on the swollen area. The product is intended for use after tooth extractions, implants or other dental procedures that leave wounds and swelling. The patented formulas are based on natural substances of plant origin. “The Fitodenta product is intended for oral care and is classified as a cosmetic product.