Chief dental officer Barry Cockcroft has welcomed news that NHS dentists have increased the prescription of high concentration toothpaste in their surgeries by 400% since 2006.
Official statistics were released by the NHS Information Centre last week.
The figures also show that the prescription of antibiotics has fallen – particularly the Amoxil sachets and powders (down around 45%) which have long been used as prophylaxis against infective endocarditis prior to dental treatment.
This is subsequent to the revised NICE guidance which recommends that such prophylaxis is unnecessary.
And the CDO maintains this is a clear indication that dentists are changing their practice in response to the NICE guidelines.
He said: ‘We are now seeing a very considerable growth in dentists starting to work in a more preventive way. The use of high concentrated toothpaste in addition to various fluoride varnish schemes is welcome news. I am also pleased to see dentists responding to the NICE guidelines.
‘The response to the first publication of the evidence-based toolkit – Delivering better health – was positive. The second edition is going out to every dentist in the country later this month and we hope that they share these practices with the entire team.’
He added: ‘The use of these products is one of the recommendations in the evidence-based prevention toolkit and demonstrates that we are beginning to influence and encourage a more preventive approach to disease management.’
The data is for the calendar year 2008. The prescription of high concentration fluoride toothpaste by dentists rose by 237%, following on from the 139% rise in the previous year.