Dental organisations support World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Dentists reminded of antibiotic use during World Antibiotic Awareness WeekDuring World Antibiotic Awareness Week, dentists and dental professionals are reminded to think about their use of antibiotics.

National dental organisations have welcomed a steady decline in the number of antibiotic prescriptions issued in dentistry.

Since 2011 there has been a steady reduction, but last year saw a 9% drop.

‘World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance, encourage best practices among the general public and healthcare workers, and avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance,’ Dr Nick Palmer, editor of FGDP’s Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners, said.

‘The persistent overuse and misuse of antibiotics within healthcare has encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

‘This causes a significant threat to their effectiveness in preventing and treating infections.

‘Dental practitioners are playing their part in reducing the number of antibiotics prescribed.

‘But much still needs to be done to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing within clinical practice.

‘I urge dentists to audit their prescribing using national guidelines and include antimicrobial prescribing in their continuing professional development.

‘Prescribe antibiotics appropriately and we can help keep antimicrobials working in the future.’

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Dentistry accounts for 5-7% of NHS antibiotic prescriptions, including 60% of metronidazole prescriptions in primary care.

The World Health Organization is asking dentists five questions to ensure they’re handling antibiotics with care.

During World Antibiotic Awareness Week, it is asking dentists:

  • Do you always follow infection prevention and control procedures?
  • Do you only prescribe antibiotics when needed and according to current guidelines?
  • When prescribing antibiotics, do you talk to patients about how to take them correctly, antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse?
  • Do you ask your patient about their previous and present antibiotic use?
  • Do you talk to patients about preventing infections (eg good oral hygiene)?

Antibiotic resistance

The number of antibiotic-resistant infections is expected to jump over the next 20 years due to over-prescribing.

The Faculty of General Dental Practice is encouraging dentists to update their knowledge by participating in a national survey of antibiotic prescribing.

And suggests taking the antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) e-learning modules, both of which provide free verifiable CPD.

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