When was the last time you visited the dentist? It’s a question worth asking after a recent survey found half of UK parents say their children have missed a check-up since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced.
According to The Guardian, dentists are fearing a “tsunami” of untreated tooth decay due to missed check-ups and dental surgeries during lockdown. “Our big worry is children, whose tooth enamel is softer and thinner, and more vulnerable to sugary ‘lockdown diets,’” Association of Dental Groups (ADG) chair Neil Carmichael said.
However, it’s not just the dental health of children that’s a point of concern. The Australian Dental Association’s annual Oral Health Tracker recently found that less than half of adults had visited a dentist in the past 12 months, and only 53% were brushing their teeth twice a day.
How do you avoid painful post-lockdown tooth decay?
As of 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, September 27, dentist clinics in Victoria were allowed to reopen for non-urgent services with COVID safe plans in place. In NSW, and other parts of Australia, dental services have been implementing screening questions for patients, as well as COVID safe restrictions around social distancing and PPE.
Given the safety measures around dental surgeries in Australia, the first step to avoiding decay is biting the bullet and going in for a check-up. However, there are also plenty of ways to maintain oral health before and after visiting your local dentist.
Dentist Dr Rachel Mascord told the Queensland Times: “reduce sugar in all its forms – fruit, lollies and acidic drinks are the obvious culprits.”
“Stock up on healthy snacks like raw vegetables, nuts and hummus, and drink water and herbal teas like peppermint when the days are cold.”
The Teeth Blog also suggests brushing twice daily with a soft bristle brush for about 2-3 minutes at a time, using fluoride toothpaste, flossing in slow and gentle motions, and using a mouthwash that will help reduce acid in the mouth, clean areas your brush can’t reach, and strengthen your teeth.
According to the Queensland Times, there are also plenty of digital dentals services available, including :DSmile Care, an online service that provides patients with free advice from qualified dentists.
Dsmile Care is a 100% not-for-profit initiative that offers free online advice from dental professionals. ????
— Dsmile Care (@Dsmilecare_) September 16, 2020
It sounds like the key here is nipping your oral health in the bud and getting those chompers sparkling clean before you end up in a dental emergency.