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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.

Taking action on antimicrobial resistance

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

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