Dentists needed for national survey of antibiotic prescribing

DENTISTS are being urged to participate in a new survey of antibiotic prescribing in dentistry.

Six national dental organisations are supporting the Antimicrobial knowledge and attitude survey, which aims to build an understanding of dentists’ knowledge of, and attitudes toward, the prescribing of antimicrobials.

The survey is open to all practising dentists, as well as trainees and students, and is available until 31 May 2020. Educational slides are provided at the end of the survey covering antimicrobial prophylaxis, indications for the use of antimicrobials to manage dental infections, and key points from the NICE antimicrobial stewardship guidelines.

Participants who complete the survey and educational material will be issued one CPD hour by the Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM).

Antibiotic-resistant infections cause an estimated 25,000 deaths each year in Europe and 700,000 worldwide. Their incidence is expected to increase markedly over the next 20 years due to over-prescribing, leading to even simple surgical procedures becoming high-risk due to the potential for post-surgical infection with resistant micro-organisms.

All healthcare providers in the UK have a statutory duty to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance by ensuring appropriate use of antibiotics. While there has been a steady reduction in the number of antibiotic prescriptions issued in NHS primary dental care over recent years, the sector still accounts for around five to seven per cent of NHS antibiotic prescriptions, and an estimated one in six patients are prescribed antibiotics each year as part of their NHS dental treatment.

Dr Nick Palmer, a member of the BDA’s Health and Science Committee and Editor of the FGDP’s Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners guidance, commented: "Dentists have a significant role to play in keeping antibiotics working by ensuring that every prescription for antibiotics is based on clinical need and national guidelines, and by educating patients to take and dispose of antibiotics responsibly. I urge colleagues to take the prescribing survey in order to support this vital work and refresh their knowledge of this important aspect of clinical practice." 

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