Remember back in the day when getting a prescription for antibiotics for a cold was par for the course? Eventually, that practice slowed as bacteria became resistant to certain germs, rendering the antibiotics useless and paving the way for "superbugs" to thrive in those with weakened immune systems. Well, as it turns out, those antibiotics may do even more damage than initially thought. In addition to allowing the proliferation of superbugs, antibiotics have also been found to kill good bacteria - i.e., the bacteria we need in our mouths to help fight plaque and inflammation.
Researchers in a study by Case Western University say this happens because the antibiotics don’t just kill bad bacteria associated with oral infections, but they also kill what is known as "short chain fatty acids," which are generated by good bacteria in the oral cavity. Those bacteria are what eat plaque and fight inflammation, which can cause and contribute to everything from heart disease to cancer and stroke.
So, should you toss that antibiotic prescription in the trash? Not so fast! If you need antibiotics, don’t ignore your doctor or dentist’s advice to take them - chances are if you’re getting a prescription, you need them. But on the other hand, be careful to not insist upon getting them without just cause, or you could be putting your oral health at risk.
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