To coincide with European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on 18 November 2017, UK-wide dental and public health organisations joined forces to urge oral health professionals to pledge their support for more responsible prescribing.
In the UK, dentists prescribe more than 5% of all antibiotics and approximately 60% of the total metronidazole in primary health care. Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem that leads to antibiotics no longer being effective in treating even simple infections.
The Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) (FGDP[UK]) has been working with the Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM), the British Dental Association (BDA), Public Health England, Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Wales, the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy and the Antibiotic Action initiative and asked members to join a social media 'Thunderclap' on 18 November.
To help dentists appropriately prescribe antibiotics and to educate families on the indications for antibiotics, a Dental Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit is available on the Public Health England website. Regular auditing of antibiotic prescribing by dentists will also ensure appropriate use and reduce resistance.
The FGDP(UK) publishes free online guidance (https://www.fgdp.org.uk/standards-online) to help dentists decide when antibiotics are required. Dentists can help their patients understand that for dental pain, dental care is usually a more effective treatment than antibiotics, and that when antibiotics are prescribed, taking and disposing of them responsibly can help fight the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.
Dentists, other healthcare professionals, educators and members of the public are also encouraged to sign up as Antibiotic Guardians: http://antibioticguardian.com/.
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Dental professionals urged to #keepantibioticsworking. Br Dent J 223, 801 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.1049