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Antimicrobial resistance in dentistry

Staphylococcus Aureus 


What's the problem?

Antimicrobial resistance could lead to many modern medical and surgical treatments becoming impossible. Currently 25,000 people die each year in Europe from sepsis caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The recent independent review of antimicrobial resistance commissioned by the UK Government estimated that a failure to address the problem of antibiotic resistance could result in:

  • Ten million deaths every year globally by 2050
  • A cost of £66 trillion to the global economy.

The prescribing toolkit

Studies have estimated around 10% of all antibiotic prescriptions in the UK and across Western Europe are from dentists in primary care. However, research indicates there are often wide variations in the dose, frequency and duration of course prescribed by dentists.

To help dental practices we have worked with the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) and Public Health England (PHE) to develop an antimicrobial stewardship toolkit.


With the toolkit you can:

  • Reassure yourself that your prescribing follows dental guidelines
  • Help your patients understand when antibiotics are appropriate
  • Manage risk, and stay compliant.

It includes:

  • Audit tool and help with action planning
  • Electronic templates for accurate and easy auditing, including Read codes, current guidance and action plan.



Please also download Posters​ and leaflets​ to inform and educate patients

Taking action on antimicrobial resistance

We convened a summit in 2014 to formulate a plan of action for dentistry.

We are calling on Government for a requirement for appropriately funded emergency time. This will allow dentists to establish a differential diagnosis and provide appropriate interventive treatment when required, rather than prescribe antibiotics.

We're lobbying for public engagement on the issue of antimicrobial resistance - focusing on disease prevention, management of expectations and information on the correct use of antimicrobials.

We are part of Public Health England's dental working group on antimicrobial utilisation and resistance. We also continue to work collaboratively towards One Health goals alongside medical, pharmaceutical, veterinary and international colleagues.

We are working with the Council of European Dentists to ensure cohesive action across Europe. Through working together we hope to make a bigger impact and ensure patients are treated effectively.

Dentists can also show their support by signing PHE's Antibiotic Guardianship pledge.


Read our blogs on antibiotic prescribing, for the latest updates and opinions on this topic.

Further information and resources