Did COVID-19 really lead to DIY dentistry?

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Did COVID-19 really lead to DIY dentistry?

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DIY dentistry was one of the most significant outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image: Freepik)
Gaby Bissett

By Gaby Bissett

Mon. 17. January 2022

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This is according to a new study that looked into the impact of lockdown on the oral health of those in Teeside.

Carried out by Rachael England, a doctor of public health (DrPH), she analyzed the effect of the first pandemic lockdown. Not only were people taking dentistry into their own hands, but they also reported a decline in their oral health.

'The COVID-19 lockdown had a serious negative impact on oral health. For many people, the oral hygiene routine was interrupted. People were brushing and cleaning between their teeth less often. - Rachael England

'Dental practices being closed for such a long period was unprecedented and sadly, people had to resort to do-it-yourself dentistry. Of the people who experienced dental pain, 9% reported this as severe pain.'

Negative impact
In addition, findings show that the oral hygiene of those under the age of 30 was the most affected. Less than 50% of respondents had visited a dental practice in the year leading up to the pandemic. On top of this, 45% of participants felt the lockdown harmed their oral health.

The findings expose the realities of the oral health crisis at a local level, as well as the negative impact of lockdown.

Loss of trust
Rachael added: ‘People missed both routine and emergency oral healthcare. ‘This will create an increase in the levels of oral diseases among the community. Not being able to access care in an emergency could also contribute to a loss of trust in the profession as people felt unsupported.

'As oral health and public health professionals, we need to work with advocates and policymakers to urgently increase access to oral healthcare services for people in Teesside.' Rachael aims to bring her research to next year’s European Association of Dental Public Health conference.

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