Three national dental organisations are supporting the World Health Organisation’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week by urging the dental profession to help keep antibiotics working.
The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)), the British Association of Oral Surgeons (BAOS) and the Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM) say that while progress has been made in reducing the number of antibiotic prescriptions in dentistry, more needs to be done to further reduce inappropriate prescribing.
Dentists issue approximately 5-7% of all antibiotic prescriptions in the NHS, and the three organisations are encouraging dental prescribers to use freely available resources to help ensure appropriate use.
FGDP(UK)’s is available on the Faculty’s website, and provides evidence-based guidance on when to prescribe antibiotics, what to prescribe, for how long and at what dosage.
The BAOS’s recently-launchedprovide verified CPD enabling oral health professionals to demonstrate application of the principles of antimicrobial stewardship to common clinical scenarios. They are relevant to all GDPs, including those who place dental implants, undertake minor oral surgery or practise in specialist areas.
The FGDP(UK), BAOS and ACOM also highlight the free Dental AMS Toolkit, which is endorsed by Public Health England and available on the FGDP(UK) website at the Antimicrobial Prescribing Self-Audit Tool which enables dental prescribers to audit their antimicrobial prescribing and management of dental infections against guidelines.. The toolkit includes patient information on the use of antibiotics for the management of dental infections, as well as
The profession is also encouraged to take the dental pledges at, and to use the hashtags #AntibioticGuardian and #keepantibioticsworking on social media.
Dr Nick Palmer, Editor and co-author of the Faculty’s guidance, said: “The number of antibiotic prescriptions issued by NHS GDPs is now at its lowest level for 25 years. However dentists can do more to reduce inappropriate prescribing to help keep antibiotics working.”
Greg Gerrard, Council Member of the BAOS, added: “Oral health professionals have a vital role to play in keeping antibiotics working by prescribing them only when necessary, and by educating patients to take and dispose of them responsibly.”
Dr Noha Seoudi, representing ACOM, commented: “There is a clear link between inappropriately prescribed antibiotics and the increasing rates of antibiotic resistance, so it is vital that dentists ensure that their use of antibiotics is clinically justified and in line with the national guidelines.”
World Antibiotic Awareness Week is a joint initiative of the UN’s World Health Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation, and World Organisation for Animal Health. It runs until Sunday 18 November, which is also European Antibiotic Awareness Day, organised by the EU’s European Centre for Disease Control.