DENTAL practices in England dispensed nearly a quarter fewer prescriptions for antibiotics in 2017 compared to 2013, according to figures published by the English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR).
Antibiotic prescribing in primary care settings overall declined by 13.2 per cent over the period, with a 23.9 per cent drop in dental presribing. Dental practice contributed to 8.2 per cent of antibiotic prescription items in primary care in 2017.
The need to preserve the potency of existing antibiotics was underlined recently in a report by MPs which estimated that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could kill up to 10 million per year by 2050.
The reduction in antibiotic prescribing has been applauded by the BDA, with President Susie Sanderson commenting: "As the BDA has taken a lead on addressing AMR in dentistry, issuing a consensus report in May 2015, it is gratifying that statistics back up the fact that dentists are playing their part in reducing antibiotic prescribing.
"However, the existential threat from AMR is so great that none of us can rest on our laurels.
"There is a whole range of fronts where we still need to secure progress to avoid inappropriate use of antibiotics in dentistry. Properly funded emergency treatment slots, and removing the pressures that push dental patients to GPs, are key to bringing down antibiotic prescribing."