18th November 2023

Understanding Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and the drivers for its development will help healthcare professionals work together to reduce its emergence and spread. It is well documented that the more we use antimicrobial agents, the more drug resistance will develop. Many National Dental Organisations* have come together to support the World AMR Awareness Week theme “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”.

If no action is taken, AMR infections are predicted to lead to 10M deaths by 2050 annually; a number higher than the total caused by COVID-19 during the pandemic period. Therefore, dental professionals have worked together to update the online dental antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) toolkit with resources for dental teams, students and patients as well as wider healthcare professionals (1). The range of educational resources included a new website for students and educators providing links to various online training courses (2).

Our profession must focus on the prevention of oral diseases to reduce the incidence of severe oral infections that necessitate the use of antimicrobial agents. Adhering to the best practice recommendations aimed at preventing infections, in addition to stewarding the use of antimicrobial agents, is very important. Accordingly, “Delivering better oral health: an evidence-based toolkit for prevention (3)” is included in the updated AMS toolkit(1). Furthermore, we need to look to the future and ensure appropriate disposal of antimicrobials to reduce environmental contamination. Guidance on the appropriate disposal of waste in healthcare settings including dentistry is available in HTM07-01 (4).

We encourage you to make the most out of the above-mentioned resources to ensure you and your team are working together to help keep your patients safe by tackling the problem of AMR.

  1. Dental Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit is available via https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dental-antimicrobial-stewardship-toolkit.
  2. Keep Antimicrobial Working (KAW) education resources for students and educators are available at https://bsac-kaw.co.uk/.
  3. Delivering better oral health: an evidence-based toolkit for prevention is available via https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delivering-better-oral-health-an-evidence-based-toolkit-for-prevention
  4. Safe and sustainable management of healthcare waste is available via https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/B2159iii-health-technical-memorandum-07-01.pdf
  5. Dental Antimicrobial Stewardship in Scotland is available via https://www.sapg.scot/guidance-qi-tools/dental-stewardship/. SAPG Dental statement recommending phenoxymethylpenicillin as first line when antibiotics are required for acute dento-alveolar infections available via https://www.sapg.scot/media/5473/statement-on-pen-v-in-dental-infections.pdf


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