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Don’t become a DIY Dentist

New research has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the UK’s oral health. A joint investigation conducted by the Oral Health Foundation and Colgate discovered that over half of British adults feel they have neglected their teeth during lockdown, while almost a quarter have turned to the internet to fix dental problems. Read on to discover why you should take care to avoid DIY dentistry.

Taking care of the basics

Before we look at the dangers of home dentistry, it is important to remember that having a good oral hygiene routine is your strongest line of defence when it comes to protecting your teeth and gums – and this is definitely something that begins at home. Despite this, many adults reported that it is a struggle staying on top of oral hygiene.

  • One-in-six (15%) adults admit to not brushing their teeth as much as before the pandemic.
  • One-in-five (19%) said they haven’t been brushing their teeth twice a day.

The role of food and drink 

It is often said that we are what we eat. This is certainly true when it comes to the health of our teeth. Consuming a lot of sugary snacks or drinks can have a huge impact on our oral health, as can smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. The research found that lockdown has fuelled unhealthy eating and drinking habits.  

  • One-in-five (20%) adults are now eating unhealthier foods.
  • more than one-in-ten (11%) have been drinking more alcohol.

Keeping in control of your oral health

Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation recently highlighted the importance of prioritising your oral health in response to the survey.

“Since coronavirus, it has been easy to get into the mindset that your health is not completely within your control.  There are, however, elements of your health that you do have full authority over.  One of these is the health of the mouth.     

“Good oral health is completely in your own hands.  All it takes is the correct care.  By adopting a few simple habits, you can prevent oral diseases like tooth decay, that sadly remain far too common.

“Knowing that less people are brushing twice a day is disastrous for oral health, as along with consuming less sugar, it is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay.  Brushing last thing at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste takes four minutes out of the day – an important and proactive step for self-care and something to prioritise.”

Getting back in the habit of routine check-ups

When it comes to visiting the dentist, it is understandable that people have felt reluctant to book an appointment or even felt unsure if they are allowed to, and this has also taken a toll on the nation’s teeth.

  • One-in-five (18%) have not seen a dentist for over two years.
  • One-in-three (36%) have reported toothache during COVID-19. 
  • One-in-ten (9%) experiencing the pain for longer than two weeks.
  • 84% of the population could be at increased risk of tooth decay.

The message from dental professionals is simple – going to the dentist is safer than ever before and we are open for business. If you haven’t got an appointment booked, get in touch.

The dangers of DIY

As a result of the pandemic, a concerning number of people are now going online to find solutions to fix their own dental problems.  The study found that almost a quarter of adults (24%) have been online to fix oral health problems at home.

“DIY home dentistry is a terrible idea and should be avoided at all costs,” adds Dr Carter. “Home treatments in untrained hands often comprise of shortcuts that come with added dangers and can lead to permanent damage to your health.

“If you are experiencing any problems with your mouth, like toothache, the best thing you can do is book an appointment with your dentist.  Your dental team can spot diseases like tooth decay in the early stages and treat it before it gets worse, when you might need a filling or have the tooth taken out.

“Having been closed at the beginning of the pandemic and dealing with a backlog of patients in the months that followed, most dental practices are now back to relative normality.  You should be able to get an appointment.  If you think you have been neglecting your oral health lately, or haven’t been to the dentist in a while, my advice is to go and book yourself in for a check-up.”

Tackling tooth decay

Alongside the research on the impact of the pandemic, further new data shows more than 30 million adults in the UK have one or more fillings – an indicator of the prevalence of tooth decay in the UK.  Although this is partly a result of poor oral hygiene, other contributing factors include high carbohydrate diets and infrequent dental visits. It is important to be aware that risk also increases with age, diabetes, dry mouth, or while having orthodontic treatment. All of this serves to highlight the importance of having a regular dental check-up, regardless of your age and whether or not you believe you have any dental problems.

 

At Regent Dental Centre, we provide a comprehensive range of dental treatments in a relaxed and friendly environment, where you can rest assured you will receive the right advice and treatment. To book an appointment now or to enquire about becoming a member, call today on 0161 941 2143.

 

Website last updated: October 2021

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