Oral health is still important during a pandemic, and preventative dental health remains essential. The pandemic has caused multiple effects regarding oral health from the postponement of non-urgent dental care early in the pandemic to now somewhat a return to normal care. Although it appears that Americans have heeded recommendations to continue with at-home care, there remain effects and unintended consequences.
Importance Of Timely Dental Care
When we were unable to visit the dentist during the early months of the pandemic, problems like cavities were not addressed. Decay does not go away on its own, and many people are now realizing those simple cavities have evolved into additional problems. It further proves that getting dental care early saves both your pocketbook and your teeth.
Effects On Children
Tooth decay is the most common disease in children. Unable to see a dentist for months has caused children to miss out on dental care while the problem was new. Once appointments were opened up, it became difficult to get an appointment right away.
This left parents in a situation where they needed to be extra conscientious about having children brush twice a day and watch what they were eating like sugary foods and drinks.
The Psychological Effects
Many were affected by lack of work and financial worries.
It resulted in the following:
- Anxiety and depression during COVID-19 led many to drink more alcohol and smoke. Neither is advantageous for dental health.
- Indirect effects included taking prescribed medications for depression that cause dry mouth which harms oral health.
- Increased anxiety can lead to bruxism or grinding of teeth during sleep.
- Those who turned to a poor diet during the pandemic left themselves open to gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Home Care Is Always Your First Line Of Defense (…even during a pandemic)
Brushing, flossing, and rinsing every day removes harmful bacteria in your mouth. If not removed, it develops into plaque, a combination of saliva and food debris. This in turn becomes tartar. Eating carbs and the inevitable secretion of acid causes decay.
Inflammation of gums is known as gum or periodontal disease. Both of these issues can occur due to a poor diet, using tobacco, a weakened immune system and poor oral hygiene.
Periodontal disease is linked with several chronic diseases like liver disease, arthritis, and coronary heart disease. Keeping your teeth and mouth free from inflammations and decay is important for your entire health and well being.
How Do You Match Up?
Some good news! A recent study by Delta Dental Plan Association stated that 86% of Americans believe maintaining good oral health is essential even during the pandemic.