A new survey reveals the coronavirus pandemic is a major factor in the nation’s failing dental health.

More than half of Americans say they have delayed or skipped regular dental maintenance altogether, which can lead to more serious oral health issues, according to the American Association of Endodontists.

The survey commissioned by the association, also showed that the pandemic is takings its toll on those working or studying remotely when it comes to changes to their daily dental hygiene routine.

Significant findings include: 31 percent were snacking more on sweets; 28 percent didn’t schedule or forgot to schedule a dental visit; 1 in 4 said they waited until later in the morning to brush their teeth, while 21 percent didn’t brush in the morning at all; and 24 percent said they’re flossing less frequently while 23 percent say they aren’t flossing at all.

Dental disturbances aren’t just impacting vulnerable populations like the elderly, millennials have also reported experiencing dental disruptions.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed indicated that working from home or attending virtual classes from home led to disruptions to their usual dental hygiene habits during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“Clearly, the pandemic is causing a major disruption in Americans’ dental habits, which is leading to more serious tooth problems,” the association said.

“Fortunately, it appears much of the public understands the importance of facing serious dental issues head-on. Even with the pandemic, 60 percent say experiencing tooth pain that won’t go away would lead them to make a dental appointment.”

The survey also asked about tooth loss versus procedures to save a bad tooth, with four out of five people stating that it’s better to go the root canal route versus extraction.

“If you’re suffering with a toothache that wakes you up out of a sound sleep at night, or because you’re eating hot or cold food, you need an endodontist,” said Dr. Alan H. Gluskin, president, American Association of Endodontists. “You should not delay treatment.”

The association says the public should know that it’s extremely safe to visit the endodontist or dentist in the era of COVID-19, with facilities practicing the utmost caution and disinfection protocol.

They add that people experiencing dental emergencies should call their local endodontic practice and not 911 to keep emergency rooms clear during the pandemic.

With February being National Children’s Dental Month, the American Dental Association says children are also being affected by the falling off of healthy oral hygiene.

The association created “Give Kids a Smile” to provide dental health services to children whose families cannot afford it.

“Almost one in four children under the age of five already have cavities and 10 million children under the age of 18 receive no dental care, says National Today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities are the most prevalent infectious disease in children in the U.S.”

“More than 40% of infants and preschoolers are affected by the time they’re in kindergarten and about half of all children from lower-income families. Dental health is the most unmet health need among American children.”

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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