Most of us have been doing everything we can to stay inside in order to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus. By limiting our public encounters to a minimum, it means some aspects of our personal health, such as dental check-ups, have also been limited due to many of us prioritizing social distancing over comparative issues.
Dentists in Maryland fear a ‘tidal wave’ of dental problems among Marylanders when the Coronavirus pandemic begins to flatten as more people are vaccinated against the virus, according to research by NextSmileDental.com.
The website, which provides resources on dentures, conducted a survey of 4,500 patients, revealing that 57% of Marylanders have delayed routine check-ups due to Coronavirus fears. This may mean than once the coronavirus curve has – hopefully – stabilized due to the effects of the vaccine, and it is safer to be in public, dentists will face an overwhelming influx of patients due to the number of people who have delayed their check-ups. There has also been research which suggests a strong correlation between dental conditions, such as periodontal disease and erosion, and anxiety, depression and loneliness. This is particularly concerning in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, where many people are experiencing challenging circumstances. For those of us who are limiting our exposure to the outdoor world, perhaps that tingling sensation in your molar has a taken a backseat during the pandemic…
Kathryn O’Brien, editor at NextSmileDental.com, says she has a particular concern about the health of children’s teeth, such as untreated tooth decay, because children have also been restricted by parents from dental checkups since the start of the pandemic. This is concerning as children are more at risk of dental complications than adults, because their tooth enamel is thinner, which makes them more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Indeed, the survey also revealed that 3 in 5 parents admit that their children had been eating more sugary food and drinks since the start of the pandemic. With sugary food products posing an increased risk of developing cavities, this is another concern for dentists once things return to a sense of normalcy.
Reassuringly, 22% of parents said they had carried out their own research online as to how to check their children’s teeth. This shows that many parents are aware of the importance of oral health, especially during this time. If it’s not possible to take a trip to your family dentist, a DIY check-up may suffice for now if your child isn’t experiencing any pain as a result of an underlying issue.
When it comes to adults, 73% said they felt comfortable skipping dental check ups if it reduced their risk of Covid-19 infection. Additionally, a significant 20% also said they would delay treatment for serious medical issues if they were not in pain.
‘With social distancing still a big part of our lives right now, prioritizing our exposure to public spaces is still a consideration for many of us. However, if you are experiencing debilitating discomfort or inability to function as a result of tooth or mouth pain, it is a good idea to contact your local dentist in order to find out what treatment options are available during this time,’ says Ms O’Brien from NextSmileDental.com. ‘Many practices have strict COVID measures in place and may be able to assist if you are comfortable and willing. As much as it is important to stay in, it is crucial not to ignore signs your body is giving you if it is in pain – this includes your dental health.’