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What dental professionals can do to tackle antibiotic resistance

The unnecessary prescription of antibiotics for dental problems contributes significantly to the problem of antibiotic resistance. (Image: Ivanko80/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Tue. 10. November 2020


According to Dr Wendy Thompson, who is a dentist and clinical lecturer in primary dental care at the University of Manchester in the UK, the dental profession globally is responsible for around one in ten antibiotic prescriptions across human healthcare. In an upcoming free webinar, she will share guidance on how the whole dental team, including general dental practitioners, specialists and practice managers, can develop local solutions to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance. Before her online seminar, Thompson gave some insight into the issue in an interview with Dental Tribune International.

Dr Thompson, why has antibiotic resistance become such a problem in recent decades, and what is being done about it?
Antibiotic resistance threatens the very core of modern medicine and our ability to fight infectious diseases. Effective antibacterial drugs are prerequisites for both preventive and curative measures, protecting patients from potentially fatal conditions and ensuring that complex procedures, such as surgery and chemotherapy, can be provided at low risk. The development and spread of bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics have been driven by years of overuse of antibiotics for human healthcare and in food production.

What is the role of the dental professional in tackling antibiotic resistance?
The dental profession globally is responsible for around one in ten antibiotic prescriptions across human healthcare. It is our role to minimise the use of antibiotics by preventing dental infections through oral health education and through the early diagnosis and treatment of dental disease as well as by prescribing antibiotics only when necessary. By optimising the use of antibiotics, dentists can help tackle antibiotic resistance.

What are the main learning objectives for those who will be watching your webinar?
The aim of the webinar is to show the importance of local dental team solutions to the global problem of antibiotic resistance. The learning objectives of the webinar are an understanding of how antibiotic resistance is an issue for the whole dental team, of how to optimise antibiotic use in practice and of other ways in which dental team members can help.

Editorial note: The webinar, titled “Tackling antibiotic resistance: What can the dental profession do?”, will be presented live on Tuesday, 17 November, at 11 a.m. GMT. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the topic, as well as earn a continuing education credit by answering a questionnaire after the lecture. Registration on the FDI Oral Health Campus website is free of charge.

Thompson is the lead author of FDI World Dental Federation’s white paper on the essential role of the dental team in reducing antibiotic resistance. More information on the matter of antimicrobial resistance can be found here.

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