Dentists urged: help prevent misuse of antibiotics

20 November, 2014

To coincide with Antibiotics Awareness Week (17–23 November), the Australian Dental Association (ADA) has warned about the overuse of antibiotics to treat common complaints such as toothache.

"A recent survey by NPS showed that nearly 60 per cent of medical GPs said they would prescribe antibiotics to meet patient demands or expectations, although it may not be strictly medically appropriate," Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the ADA's Oral Health Committee, said.

"When it comes to oral health, many patients present to GPs looking for antibiotics to address problems such as toothache.

"However the right advice would be to see a dentist."

'Don't make antibiotics default response'

Dr Peter Alldritt said: "Health professionals have a responsibility to ensure that the correct referral pathways are followed to address oral health problems.

"Antibiotics should never be the default response.

"Not only could inappropriate use of antibiotics delay treatment of oral health problems, it makes bacterial infections harder to beat in the future.

"It's a double whammy that we all must take action to avoid."

During Antibiotic Awareness Week #AbxAus, the NPS is asking all Australians to take the pledge to fight #AntibioticResistance.

The World Health Organisation has called antibiotic resistance "one of the biggest threats to human health today".


AAW short film: what would happen if bacteria became resistant to antibiotics?