Professor Martin Thornhill, from the University of Sheffield’s School of Clinical Dentistry, was presented with the Distinguished Scientist Award for Oral Medicine and Pathology by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) at a special ceremony in Boston this week (11 March 2015).
The prestigious award recognises Professor Thornhill’s dedication to his field, especially his ground breaking research which identified a significant rise in the number of people diagnosed with a serious heart infection alongside a large fall in the prescribing of antibiotic prophylaxis to dental patients.
The pioneering study is the largest and most comprehensive to be conducted with regards to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. These guidelines recommend dentists should no longer give antibiotics before invasive dental treatments to people considered at risk of the life-threatening heart infection, Infective Endocarditis (IE), which in 40 per cent of cases is caused by bacteria from the mouth.
Professor Thornhill and his colleagues found that there are now an extra 35 cases of IE every month. They also identified that the prescribing of antibiotic prophylaxis fell by 89 per cent from 10,900 prescriptions a month before the guidelines were introduced in 2008 to 1,235.
The Distinguished Scientist award is the highest research honour given by the IADR and recognises outstanding and sustained peer-reviewed research that has contributed to the understanding of the mechanisms governing the health and disease of the oral cavity.
(Information from EAOM)