Calls for judicious use of antibiotics in dentistry

The BDA is working with experts to combat AMR

The British Dental Association (BDA) is working with experts to combat the health risks from pathogens resistant to antibiotics.

The consensus report sets out a comprehensive blueprint to help dentists play their part in the global fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), acknowledged as a worldwide threat to public health.

‘Dentistry accounts for around 10% of all antibiotics prescribed in the UK, so it’s fitting that the BDA leads the way in supporting dentists to reduce antibiotic prescribing,’ Susie Sanderson from the BDA’s principal executive committee, said.

‘We are privileged to be able to draw on the expertise of specialists who can help steer us in the right direction, and for this reason I am proud to be launching the report.’

Antibiotics and analgesics

The BDA recognises that no one sector can address AMR in isolation and hosted a high profile event.

The event last year aimed to harness the expertise of antimicrobial specialists, educators, defence organisations, the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners, the Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists and the Cochrane Oral Health Group.

They were joined by representatives from the Departments of Health (from three countries in the UK), Public Health England, NICE, as well as the pharmacy, medical and veterinary professions to consider how best to conserve the effectiveness of existing antibiotics, and overcome barriers to reduce inappropriate prescribing.

The consensus report, based on the highlights from this event, points out that not only is cross-professional and international collaboration required but patients and the public also need to be made aware of AMR and understand the difference between antibiotics and analgesics.

‘The most challenging situation for time-pressured dentists is when a patient arrives unexpectedly in severe pain, when you have a queue of patients waiting to be seen,’ chair of the BDA’s general dental practice committee, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said.

‘Dentists need time to assess these emergency cases and provide effective treatment.

‘Governments need to recognise this and fund the care for emergency patients rather than leaving it to the good will of dentists.’

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