Dentists are stepping up to tackle the growing global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Dentists are responsible for 1 in 10 primary care prescriptions for antibiotics in the UK. Reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing is vital to minimise the emergence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Failure to act could result in ten million deaths, every year, globally by 2050.
The pandemic has undone huge progress across the profession, as antibiotics have been used to fill the access gap. We are pressing for meaningful access to urgent care for all who need it.
We continue to work nationally and internationally to address the role of dentistry in AMR.
- We campaign on the importance of investing in oral disease prevention and tackling the system-level barriers to support a reduction in unnecessary antibiotic prescribing
- Members of our Health and Science Committee were instrumental in NHS England’s minimum standard for Urgent Dental Care being increased from 15 minutes to 20 minutes. This change will support the provision of effective and timely diagnosis and treatment to those with acute dental pain and infection
- We continue to press for patient access and for the Government to commit to properly funded urgent care slots to reduce the pressure to prescribe antibiotics when they are not indicated. This will allow dentists to establish a differential diagnosis and provide appropriate interventive treatment when required and avoid unnecessary prescribing
- We are working with the Council of European Dentists and FDI World Dental Federation to ensure cohesive action across Europe and globally. We have signed up to the FDI international pledge to tackle AMR
- We support the development of national action plans on AMR and have engaged with the Department of Health and Social Care on the development of the 2024–29 national action plan, highlighting the need for the inclusion of dentistry
- We continue to lobby for public engagement on AMR. Each November, we support the World Health Organisation's Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week.
Tools and support
Dentists have an important role to play in fighting antimicrobial resistance. We must get back to the progress we were making before the pandemic. There are a range of tools and guidance to promote appropriate use of antibiotics and reduce the threat of AMR:
- The Dental Antimicrobial Stewardship toolkit for primary care was developed in collaboration between the Dental Subgroup of Public Health England’s English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR), Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) and the BDA. This toolkit has resources to support primary care practitioners to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics in dental care
- The Antimicrobial stewardship: start smart then focus toolkit provides an outline of evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship in inpatient care settings
- The Antimicrobial prescribing and stewardship competencies framework supports independent prescribers to improve the quality of prescribing practice
- Antimicrobial Prescribing in Dentistry - Good Practice Guidelines were developed by the FGDP and the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FDS)
- The Antibiotic Stewardship Core Outcome Set (COS) sets out an agreed standardised international COS to be used in studies about dental antibiotic stewardship, representing the minimum set of outcomes to be reported.