Keeping antibiotics working: The role of the dental practice team

Posted by Simplyhealth Professionals on 12/11/2018
antibiotic jar

World Antibiotic Awareness Week: 12th-18th November 2018

Simplyhealth Professionals is once again supporting World Antibiotic Awareness Week during 12th – 18th November 2018, and European Antibiotics Awareness Day on 15th November 2018, to encourage both dental professionals and patients to think about their antibiotic usage. 

The campaign echoes the ongoing messages of the UK Government’s Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy, which is creating a framework that seeks to reduce AMR across the human and animal health, research, industry and academic sectors. 

It is estimated that, each year, 50,000 lives are lost in Europe and the US to antibiotic-resistant infections. Globally, at least 700,000 people die worldwide and that figure is estimated to exceed 10 million each year by 20501

As a dental health professional, you will be aware that the effectiveness of antibiotics is fast-reducing and treating infections is becoming more difficult as bacteria become increasingly resistant. Dentistry currently accounts for around 9%2  of all antibiotic prescriptions in UK primary care, and this could be reduced if both dental professionals and their patients are even more mindful of their approach to antibiotics.

Where to find information
One of our responsibilities as health professionals is to look carefully at our own prescribing habits and ensure they are in line with the FGDP (UK) guidance on antimicrobial prescribing. This information and a host of other resources can be found at: 

Free - Test your knowledge and gain CPD
The British Association of Oral Surgeons (BAOS) has launched a new Antimicrobial Stewardship e-Learning resource for dental health professionals to test their knowledge of antibiotic prescribing. Free to take, you’ll find three modules of clinical scenario-based quizzes, each of which provides a printable e-certificate of one hour’s verified CPD:

[1] Review on Antimicrobial Resistance –

[2] British Dental Association

Communicating antibiotic awareness to your patients

One further, very important, responsibility as dental health professionals is clear communication with patients on the usage of antibiotics. Our role is to explain to patients the limits and efficacy of antibiotics, and that they’ll rarely need antibiotics unless deemed clinically necessary. Simplyhealth Professionals has produced a patient-facing blog which may be useful to refer your patients to for more information:

You can also find a patient-facing information leaflet and poster at:

Collectively, through better patient understanding and stricter prescribing habits across all human and animal health sectors, we can all contribute to slowing down the issue of AMR.