FDI experts publish guidance on antibiotic stewardship in dentistry

FDI experts Dr Susie Sanderson OBE and Professor David Williams recently authored a piece on the need for global guidance on antibiotic stewardship in dentistry. The article is published in AMR Control, the leading annual review on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Dr Sanderson is FDI speaker and immediate past president of the British Dental Association; Prof. Williams is co-chair of the FDI Vision 2020 Think Tank and the FDI Vision 2030 Working Group, as well as professor of global oral health at Queen Mary University in London.

The authors assert that dentists should be involved in the development and implementation of national action plans to counter antibiotic resistance, as they prescribe almost 10% of all antibiotics. They say that to optimize the use of antibiotics in dentistry, there needs to be global attention on stewardship policies that are achievable and consistently disseminated.

What is antimicrobial resistance?

AMR is a major threat to human health and security. Some countries have reported that more than 42% of infections are resistant to common antimicrobial therapies. Moreover, these microbes do not recognize borders between countries or sectors. One of the major drivers of AMR is misuse and overuse of antimicrobials. Thus, prudent prescribing of antimicrobials by healthcare providers is critical to slow the emergence of resistant infections. In addition to antimicrobial stewardship, the Global Action Plan on AMR calls for strengthening in four other strategic areas, including awareness and understanding, surveillance, infection prevention and control, and sustainable research and development. Fulfilment of these objectives is paramount for preventing transition into a post-antibiotic era.

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in petri dish

What can dentists do in the fight against antimicrobial resistance?

Dentists have a role to play in this battle, particularly by reducing and improving the way to prescribe antibiotics. They are too often prescribed without real indications, sometimes under the pressures of patients. Dentists have a responsibility to educate patients about the spread and consequences of AMR.

Learn more

FDI is organizing a special session on AMR at the ADA FDI World Dental Congress in San Francisco in September. If you are attending, make sure you register for the session.