The impact of lockdown on dentistry prescription

Dental

New figures reveal that the use of antibiotics in dentistry went up approximately one fifth in 2020.

Staff were recommended to use the ‘AAA’ model over the initial lockdown period; this consists of advice, analgesics or antibiotics. The quantity of patients being treated last year went down by over 50%. This means that the changes made because of the pandemic disrupted the decrease in antibiotic prescriptions (according to the ESPAUR- English surveillance programme for antimicrobial utilisation and resistance). Even though the NHS have seen a reduction of over 18% in prescriptions between 2016 to 2019, Covid and isolation periods triggered a rise of over 17%.

“AMR (Antimicrobial resistance) is predicted to cause more fatalities than cancer and diabetes put together- with 10 million deaths each year“

The largest proportion of prescriptions came from primary care general practice, with well over 80% coming from here- the quantity prescribed for dentistry made up an additional 10%.

The BDA (British Dental Association) is calling on the UK government to make dental care more available for patients. This is in the hope that improved availability will remove the need for antibiotic prescriptions as a “placeholder.”

AMR (Antimicrobial resistance) is predicted to cause more fatalities than cancer and diabetes put together- with 10 million deaths each year.

Eddie Crouch, chair of BDA, said “Antimicrobial resistance poses an even greater threat to human health than COVID. Sadly, the pandemic has wiped out years of progress in bringing down antibiotic use in dentistry. Placeholder prescriptions are now filling deficits in access and time, which the government has chosen not to factor in. Ministers have a responsibility to help dentists turn the page.”

UK government health officials have warned that after the pandemic, there is risk of a disaster regarding antibiotic-resistant infections if we do not act fast enough.

Professional advance advises individuals to be at home if they are feeling under the weather. Using antibiotics will only cause bigger problems down the line.

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