We explain what prophylaxis is and its role in the medical field. Also, what are dental, antibiotic and social prophylaxis.

Prophylaxis can delay or prevent the onset of the disease.

What is prophylaxis?

Prophylaxis, especially in the medical field, It is the set of preventive actions whose purpose is to prolong good health and delay disease.instead of just waiting for her to appear and then healing her. That is, they are performed on a healthy person. Thus, prophylactic measures are those that serve as “maintenance” of the organism, that is, that delay or even prevent the onset of diseases.

This word comes from the Greek prophylaxis, composed of the voices pro (“before”), phylax (“guardian”) and the suffix –sister (indicating action). So that it can be understood as what prevents, that which keeps us away from evil or an undesired consequence. That’s why condoms are called prophylactic (or “condoms”, that is, they preserve us), as they protect us from diseases or unwanted pregnancies.

The term prophylaxis is widely used in the health sciences (medicine, dentistry, public health, etc.), as a synonym for preventive medicine, that is, medicine that is not concerned with repairing damage and curing diseases, as well as preventing each other. , usually through hygiene measures, sanitary administration and epidemiological management.

This is vitally important not only to preserve people’s health, but also allows preventing or stopping epidemics early.

It is also possible to use the word prophylaxis in other fields, including some as different as chess jargon: chess players speak of “prophylactic moves” to refer to those whose aim is not only to improve their own position on the board, but also to prevent or prevent possible attacks from the rival, or prevent him from improving his position in it.

See also: Health

dental prophylaxis

In dentistry, we speak of prophylaxis to refer to the set of hygiene and medical prevention measures that allow us to keep our teeth and gums healthy, delaying the onset of disease and postponing more invasive and complex medical procedures. The idea, as with the rest of medical science, is that prevention is always better than cure.

Dental prophylaxis, fundamentally, consists of proper oral hygiene, that is, in the daily brushing after each meal, the use of dental floss or interdental brushes, in addition to mouthwashes and other aids in the fight against bacterial plaque and tartar. To this we must add the annual visit to the dentist, to carry out a deeper cleaning and to verify that no disease or illness is in the process.

antibiotic prophylaxis

In the medical field, antibiotic prophylaxis is also used to refer to the use of antibiotic substances to prevent the appearance of infections, after carrying out a medical intervention or some type of trauma suffered. That is, we are talking about using antibiotics not to cure an existing disease, but to prevent its occurrence.

Your use is very common in post-operative conditions, since, although sterile environments and tools are used during the operation, it is possible that some pathogenic microorganism has entered the organism during the time when the tissues were open. Thus, the administration of antibiotics ensures that no microbial agents produce an accidental infection.

social prophylaxis

social prophylaxis
Social prophylaxis encompasses the measures that the State takes to prevent disease.

The concept of social prophylaxis comes from the legal and political sciences, and originally referred to the set of measures taken by public authorities and state bodies to prevent or control epidemics and infectious outbreaks in a community, especially those that have to do with venereal diseases, that due to its nature and the taboo of sex, it used to go unnoticed and more difficult to detect.

However, the concept of social prophylaxis today has been expanded to encompass the set of measures of various types that serve to address public health problems, not only epidemic and infectious, but also behavioral and otherwise.

Thus, social prophylaxis allows society’s ills to be tackled in time, before they become a public health problem, hand in hand with psychology and psychoanalysis, but also with sociology and social medicine.

Continue with: Occupational Health


  • “Prophylaxis (disambiguation)” on Wikipedia.
  • “Preventive Medicine and Public Health” on Wikipedia.
  • “Antibiotic prophylaxis” on Wikipedia.
  • “Etymology of prophylaxis” in the Online Spanish Etymological Dictionary.
  • “What is prophylaxis?” at the World Federation of Hemophilia.
  • “Dental prophylaxis” in VITIS.