New study outlines the impact of the pandemic, as DIY dentistry booms and oral health suffers
A new study has outlined the impact of the pandemic on the oral health of the nation, as DIY dentistry booms and people experience a decline in dental health.
Research carried out by Rachael England, a doctor of public health indicates that the Covid-19 crisis has had a significant impact on oral health.
DIY dentistry has become the norm in many households and lockdowns and changing routines have affected oral hygiene and lifestyle habits.
Dr England’s research suggests that the pandemic has caused more people to take their oral health into their own hands and attempt treatment at home and reduced focus on brushing and cleaning.
Previous studies indicate that the pandemic, particularly the lockdowns, caused people to snack more and brush less frequently. There has also been major disruption to dental services, which means that patients have been unable to access routine appointments. There have also been reports of struggles to access emergency dental care across the country.
Less than half of adults surveyed had been to the dentist in the 12-month period leading up to the pandemic and appointment numbers fell sharply during 2020 and 2021 due to lockdown closures and restrictions.
Almost 50% of people polled felt that the pandemic had a negative impact on their oral health.
Dr England explained that people are missing out on both routine and urgent care and this is increasing the risk of serious oral disease. On top of access issues, many people have experienced problems during the pandemic due to changes in their diet and oral hygiene routines.
She is urging dentists, public health officials and ministers to work together to try to improve access to dental services as a priority and encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices to lower risks at a time when pressure on dental resources is rising.