Oral antibiotic prescribing by NHS dentists in England 2010-2017

Martin H. Thornhill, Mark J. Dayer, Michael J. Durkin, Peter B. Lockhart, Larry M. Baddour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Introduction Dentists prescribe a significant proportion of all antibiotics, while antimicrobial stewardship aims to minimise antibiotic-prescribing to reduce the risk of developing antibiotic-resistance and adverse drug reactions. Aims To evaluate NHS antibiotic-prescribing practices of dentists in England between 2010-2017. Methods NHS Digital 2010-2017 data for England were analysed to quantify dental and general primary-care oral antibiotic prescribing. Results Dental prescribing accounted for 10.8% of all oral antibiotic prescribing, 18.4% of amoxicillin and 57.0% of metronidazole prescribing in primary care. Amoxicillin accounted for 64.8% of all oral antibiotic prescribing by dentists, followed by metronidazole (28.0%), erythromycin (4.4%), phenoxymethylpenicillin (0.9%), clindamycin (0.6%), co-amoxiclav (0.5%), cephalosporins (0.4%) and tetracyclines (0.3%). Prescriptions by dentists declined during the study period for all antibiotics except for co-amoxiclav. This increase is of concern given the need to restrict co-amoxiclav use to infections where there is no alternative. Dental prescribing of clindamycin, which accounted for 43.9% of primary care prescribing in 2010, accounted for only 14.6% in 2017. Overall oral antibiotic prescribing by dentists fell 24.4% as compared to 14.8% in all of primary care. Conclusions These data suggest dentists have reduced antibiotic prescribing, possibly more than in other areas of primary-care. Nonetheless, opportunities remain for further reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1050
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


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