As reported in November's Healthcare-news, UK dentists account for 9% of all antibiotics prescribed in community healthcare services. Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem that leads to antibiotics no longer being effective in treating even simple infections, which can have serious consequences. Every year, 25,000 people across Europe and 700,000 worldwide die from antibiotic-resistant infections, and the UK government predicts the annual global toll could be 10 million by 2050.
To help keep antibiotics working, dentists should only prescribe antibiotics responsibly to manage dental infections. Our dentists and hygienists offer preventive advice and treatment to minimise tooth decay in children and adults, reducing the progression to infection. It is imperative that patients of all ages understand the importance of good dental health and dental infection prevention; this will decrease the risk of dental decay, reduce the likelihood of dental infections and the need for tooth extractions, and result in reduced antibiotic prescribing and reduced antimicrobial resistance.
Antibiotics on their own do not remove the infection or stop dental pain; dental treatment is usually needed as well. When antibiotics do need to be prescribed, patients should take them in accordance with instructions to help fight the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections. Together we can ensure appropriate antibiotic use and reduce antimicrobial resistance.