Antibiotic Resistance In Dentistry

While antibiotics play a very crucial role in both the prophylactic and therapeutic management of dental infections, the emerging resistance of bacteria to antibiotics has become a major threat to patients. It is estimated that antimicrobial resistance will be responsible for almost ten million deaths each year by 2050. Antibiotic resistance is of major concern to dentists since they encompass about 10% of the drug prescribed by them. 

Meanwhile, multiple studies have reported that antibiotics are overprescribed in a majority of cases and that is the basis of antimicrobial resistance. A surge in dental antibiotic prescribing occurred after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In England, about an 18.4 percent increase was seen in dental antibiotics prescribed in May 2020, compared to the same month in 2019, with rates peaking across the country in June 2020.


Relationship Between Antibiotic Use & Resistance 

According to researchers, the volume of drugs used can influence the selective pressure for antibiotic resistance. It is demonstrated that to reduce antibiotic resistance administration of antibiotics must be significantly reduced. The time for antibiotic resistance to drop is much more than the time required for the development of antibiotic resistance.

One major factor responsible for the emergence of resistance is the dose-dependent pressure applied by antibiotics to bacterial strains. The low concentrations of the antibiotic for a long time have increased the tendency to develop resistant microbial strains. Adjusting the dosage of antibiotics to reach an optimum concentration in the oral cavity is a critical factor in overcoming bacterial resistance. Likewise, choosing the appropriate antibiotic that will reach the appropriate concentration without resulting in resistant strains is also very important. 


Optimizing The Use Of Antibiotics In Dentistry 

Over the past few years, FDI has been working to develop an essential framework and protocol which can help dentists and dental associations tackle antibiotic resistance. In 2020, the FDI released a paper highlighting the importance of adaptation to antibiotic needs. The paper discussed the measures and steps which can be taken to solve the problem of emerging antibiotic-resistant strains.

It is the need of time that dentists must be guided in such a way that they can optimize antibiotic prescription in a manner that doesn’t burden the already saturated needs of antibiotic administration. Nevertheless, the role of dentists in prescribing antibiotics in the selection of resistant bacteria is an area that still needs to be addressed. 


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