The World Health Organisation’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week has been supported by three national dental organisations who are 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.
Bacteria resistant to antibiotics
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a worldwide problem, with the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to many classes of antibiotics constituting a major threat to public health as even simple infections may become untreatable.
Inappropriate prescribing and misuse of antibiotics contribute to an increasing incidence of multi-drug-resistant infections, causing an estimated 700,000 deaths each year, including 25,000 in Europe.
The health care gains for patients undergoing major surgery, and a wide range of critical treatments such as organ and stem cell transplants and chemotherapy, will be lost to the higher risk of mortality, and the UK government predicts the annual global toll could be 10 million by 2050.
Five to seven percent of all antibiotic prescriptions in the NHS are issued by dentists and the three organisations are encouraging dental prescribers to use freely available resources to help ensure appropriate use.
FGDP(UK)’s Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners 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-launched Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) e-Learning Modules provide 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 www.fgdp.org.uk/antimicrobial-prescribing. The toolkit includes patient information on the use of antibiotics for the management of dental infections, as well as the Antimicrobial Prescribing Self-Audit Tool which enables dental prescribers to audit their antimicrobial prescribing and management of dental infections against guidelines.
The profession is also encouraged to take the dental pledges at http://antibioticguardian.com/, and to use the hashtags #AntibioticGuardian and #keepantibioticsworking on social media.
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.