Let's keep antibiotics working and help save lives
Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem that leads to antibiotics no longer being effective in treating even simple infections. There are serious consequences for everyone, but particularly those undergoing major surgery, chemotherapy, organ or stem cell transplants. 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. Dentists have a vital role to play in keeping antibiotics working by prescribing them only when necessary, and by educating patients to take and dispose of them responsibly, and FGDP(UK) is enabling dentists to play their part.
Know when to prescribe
Dentists issue around 9% of all antibiotic prescriptions in NHS primary care, and 5% of the NHS total. Since 2015, dentists and other healthcare providers have had a statutory duty to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance by ensuring appropriate use of antibiotics, and FGDP(UK)'s evidence-based guidance, Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners, is there to help you decide when antibiotics are, and are not, required.
Audit your management of dental infections
FGDP(UK) recommends that dentists regularly audit their use of antimicrobials, and ideally their overall management of dental infections. Audit helps us fulfil our professional responsibility only to prescribe when appropriate, and provides evidence that we have done so. Our new self-audit tool for general dental practitioners, developed in conjunction with the British Dental Association and Public Health England, is an easy way to measure your practice against our guidance, and identify, implement and sustain any necessary changes.
Please note that FGDP(UK) is not able to answer any technical queries about the tool, however contact details are provided on the instructions tab.
Educate your patients
Telling people how to fight antimicrobial resistance will help save lives, maybe even your own or that of someone close to you, and dentists are well-placed to raise awareness among their patients. FGDP(UK) is supporting the NHS's 'Antibiotics Don't Cure Toothache' poster and patient information leaflet, which aim to help patients understand that dental care is in most cases a painless and more effective treatment for dental pain and infections than antibiotics. Please consider putting the poster up, and making copies of the leaflet available, in your practice.
You can also use the hashtags #AntibioticGuardian and #keepantibioticsworking on social media, and take the dental pledges at http://antibioticguardian.com/.