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Consultant360Early-Life Antibiotic Use and Dental Health Outcomes

Newer formulations of antibiotics, such as doxycycline, show no evidence of causing dental caries, tooth staining, or developmental enamel defects in children under 8 years old.

In a recent podcast, Mihiri J. Silva, PhD, and Dharini Ravindra, DCD, discuss their team’s systematic review exploring the effects of antibiotic exposure in early childhood on dental health. The study aims to dispel concerns among clinicians about prescribing antibiotics due to potential adverse dental effects.

HCN Medical Memo
This study provides reassurance that newer antibiotic formulations, particularly doxycycline, can be safely prescribed to children under 8 without concerns about adverse dental effects. This could lead to more confident antibiotic prescribing practices and better antimicrobial stewardship in dental settings.

Key Points:
  • Study Prompt: Concerns about the adverse effects of antibiotics, particularly tetracyclines, on dental health led to the study.
  • Main Findings: No evidence was found to suggest that newer formulations of tetracyclines like doxycycline cause dental caries, tooth staining, or developmental enamel defects in children under 8.
  • Dentist Perspectives: The study suggests that dental concerns should not deter clinicians from prescribing the most appropriate antibiotics.

One in five children globally has had at least one antibiotic, making the study’s findings particularly relevant.

Additional Points:
  • Enamel Defects: The relationship between antibiotics and enamel defects remains inconclusive due to multiple factors affecting tooth formation.
  • Tooth Decay: The study calls for more research to understand the complex, multifactorial condition of tooth decay.
  • Next Steps: Future research could focus on dose-response relationships and the impact of antibiotics on the oral microbiome.

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