The British Dental Association (BDA) has backed an initiative that aims to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across all the branches of medicine.
The announcement comes just ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which will take place on November 18th.
Susie Sanderson, a BDA principal executive committee member, said: “AMR is a real risk for all of us. We are going to be in deep trouble in the future if we want to cure people with infections, or those with low immune systems, if antibiotics stop working.
“Dentistry in primary care is responsible for up to ten per cent of AMR prescribing across the board, which is a significant amount. Dentists need to play their part in reducing AMR: they must be familiar with evidence-based guidance and think twice before prescribing.”
AMR is caused by overuse of antibiotics, often for conditions such as colds and viral infections that are not helped by the medication. However, some bacteria can build up a resistance to commonly used antibiotics, making certain infections harder to treat when they do occur.
The organisation also highlighted some of the steps that dentists can take to help tackle AMR. For example, dentists should think about whether antibiotics are really necessary before they prescribe them to patients, and consider whether they are only delaying a surgical procedure, as is often the case for dental abscesses.
The BDA also encouraged dentists to take the Antibiotics Guardian Pledge, and tweet about European Antibiotic Awareness Day using the hashtags #antibioticresistance and #EAAD.
Another way to raise awareness is to sign up to the Faculty of Dental Practice’s social media thunderclap. Those who sign their accounts up to the initiative will automatically send out a co-ordinated message at 1pm on November 18th about AMR. This is designed to flood social media with information about AMR, making it more likely to trend and be seen by as many people as possible.