Dental profession taking a lead on antibiotic resistance

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The British Dental Association (BDA) has called on patients and policymakers to help dentists rise to the challenge presented by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in dentistry, as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) calls for a curb on inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in the NHS.

The World Health Organization has identified AMR as a serious threat to public health worldwide. The BDA set out a blueprint for the action on AMR, launched at its annual conference in May, and is now working with national leaders and international experts to combat the risks.

Dr Graham Stokes, Chair of the BDA Health and Science Committee, said:

“Antibiotics won’t cure an abscess, so patients shouldn’t be surprised when their dentist suggests treatment other than a prescription.

“Dentists are already subject to regulation to ensure prescriptions can be justified. What we don’t have is a contract that provides adequate time for dentists to treat emergency cases. So we call on the government to recognise the real threat of AMR and factor this into any reformed package.

“This danger presented by antibiotic resistance requires a change in gear from practitioners, patients and policymakers. The simple message is we can’t go on as we are, and the dental profession is stepping up and taking a lead.”