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The problem

Dentists are responsible for 1 in 10 primary care prescriptions for antibiotics in the UK. Reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing is vital to minimise the emergence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Failure to act could result in ten million deaths, every year, globally by 2050.

The solution

The pandemic has undone huge progress across the profession, as antibiotics have been used to fill the access gap. We are pressing for meaningful access to urgent care for all who need it.

Our impact

We continue to work nationally and internationally to address the role of dentistry in AMR. 

  • We campaign on the importance of investing in oral disease prevention and tackling the system-level barriers to support a reduction in unnecessary antibiotic prescribing 
  • Members of our Health and Science Committee were instrumental in NHS England’s minimum standard for Urgent Dental Care being increased from 15 minutes to 20 minutes. This change will support the provision of effective and timely diagnosis and treatment to those with acute dental pain and infection 
  • We continue to press for patient access and for the Government to commit to properly funded urgent care slots to reduce the pressure to prescribe antibiotics when they are not indicated. This will allow dentists to establish a differential diagnosis and provide appropriate interventive treatment when required and avoid unnecessary prescribing 
  • We are working with the Council of European Dentists and FDI World Dental Federation to ensure cohesive action across Europe and globally. We have signed up to the FDI international pledge to tackle AMR 
  • We support the development of national action plans on AMR and have engaged with the Department of Health and Social Care on the development of the 2024–29 national action plan, highlighting the need for the inclusion of dentistry 
  • We continue to lobby for public engagement on AMR. Each November, we support the World Health Organisation's Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week. 

Tools and support

Dentists have an important role to play in fighting antimicrobial resistance. We must get back to the progress we were making before the pandemic. There are a range of tools and guidance to promote appropriate use of antibiotics and reduce the threat of AMR: