The Impact of the Pandemic on Oral Health
The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the face of the world as we know it. Aside from popularising new buzz terms, such as “social distancing,” “mask mandates,” and “Zoom meetings,” it also revived seemingly archaic words, including “quarantine” and “isolation.”
Almost every aspect of our daily lives has been tailored to adjust to the situation, dental services included. It begs the question of whether the pandemic has had a significant impact on public dental health and oral hygiene. This article will quickly go over how COVID-19 influenced patients, practitioners, and other stakeholders with their approach to preventing dental issues and promoting overall good oral health.
But before we go into that, let’s clear the air in the room by letting you know that it is indeed safe to visit the dentist during the pandemic.
The Height of the Pandemic Saw Fewer Visits
A study conducted in the US has shown that weekly visits to dental offices saw a drastic decline during the earlier phases of the pandemic and, despite having short bouts of rebound, are still 20% lower than the previous year. Several factors are seen to contribute to this decline, including denial of non-emergency services, people hunkering down in their homes, labour shortage and strict lockdown measures.
Slow But Steady Recovery
As we look optimistically into what 2022 has in store for us, we’re often reminded of how things have changed for us since 2020 took the reins. The last year was a testament to the practice’s resolve and paved the way for growth in dental health in terms of technology, procedures, strategies and patient preparation.
While patient volume has seen a rebound to as much as 91% of pre-pandemic levels, staffing continues to be a problem; 40% of dentists are still challenged with staffing dental assistance and hygienists.
COVID-19 and Dental Decay
With more people working from home, we have found that people and children are snacking more regularly and increasing their consumption of sugars and carbohydrates. This not only exposes the teeth to more sugar and acid but also reduces the ability of your saliva to protect your teeth. This dramatically increases the risk of getting dental decay.
If you haven’t been to the dentist since the beginning of the pandemic, it is extremely important to get your teeth checked again.
COVID-19 and Periodontal Disease
In another study conducted in 2020, a conclusion was made that the data demonstrated that people living with periodontal disease had an increased risk of mortality following COVID-19 infection. While the findings also suggest that periodontal disease does not increase the risk of infection, it can be associated with COVID-19 pathology and the increased risk of death.
This data only reinforces the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums with the help of your dentist and that your dental practitioners will take whatever measures are necessary to provide continuing care for your overall dental health.
Keeping Patients Safe
More than before, dentists have learned to take more stringent measures to keep patients—and themselves—safe while working hard to fight poor oral health. Practices are used to disinfecting surfaces and wearing more protective gear than they’re used to.
While each state and territory will have their unique guidelines, some administrative practices that keep everyone safer also include spacing out appointments, discouraging walk-ins, enquiries about travel histories and good old social distancing.
The Pinnacle of Dental Health—and Patient Safety
Your Miranda Dentist makes your safety a top priority while continuing to provide the premier dental services that we have been known for. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office to set an appointment or for any enquiries regarding our services. We look forward to serving your dental needs to the best of our abilities.