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​Working together to prevent antimicrobial resistance

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is held between 18 – 24 November this year.

The theme for 2022 is preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) together.

To support this objective, we have joined with other organisations to sign a joint statement from the UK's dental professional bodies to highlight the importance of working together to tackle AMR.

The WHO have declared that AMR is among the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity and action is required. Dentists and the wider oral healthcare community must consider what impact decisions make on AMR as a critical part of the future sustainability agenda.

Dentists have a role to play in reducing antibiotic prescribing to help tackle the growing threat of AMR. This could include service improvements, audits of prescribing practices and ensuring access to timely oral healthcare in the right place.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, significant progress had been made in reducing the number of dental prescriptions for antibiotics across the UK. A surge occurring after the pandemic saw an 18.4% increase in dental antibiotic prescribing across England in May 2020, compared to the same month in 2019.

The issue of antibiotic prescription increases throughout the pandemic has recently been explored in BDJ In Practice, discussing whether the pandemic set the profession back to square one with antimicrobial stewardship and how the need of the patient must always be the first priority in any decisions.

The Dental Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit provides a range of guidance, training, audit and patient-facing resources for all members of the team including prescribers. We are continuing to campaign for properly funded urgent treatment slots to help bring down antibiotic prescribing rates and fight AMR.