Dentists are urging people not to use social distancing as an excuse to skip dental appointments, as checkups are needed now more than ever as people are indulging in sugary treats during lockdown.
Australian Dental Association New South Wales President Kathleen Matthews said the increased consumption of sugary snacks while staying at home meant tooth decay and oral health issues were rising.
A Monash University study has found almost half of Australians aged 18-29 are feeling the pressures of the pandemic and turn to sugary treats to boost their mood.
‘In the world that’s gone upside down these days, we are all a bit hesitant about things that aren’t essential,’ Dr Matthews told ABC.
But Dr Matthews said regular dental checks are essential.
‘We know that’s not good for your body so we’d recommend to think carefully about their food choices at this time,’ she said.
Australian Oral Health Tracker data revealed Australians were eating comfort food full of sugar during the pandemic and were going outside less.
At the same time only one in two Australians are brushing their teeth at least twice per day.
Dr Matthews said the unhealthy habits have arisen from unstructured work days and the loss of normal daily routines.
‘It’s a concern to us, because we think the most common dental diseases are easily preventable. So that’s dental decay and gum disease,’ she said.
She said people should know that most dental surgeries reopened in early May and are back operating after temporary shutdowns in the early weeks of the pandemic, and that being in close proximity to a dentist was not a threat.
‘Australian dentists have among the highest standards of infection control in the world. Infection control processes are part of every dentists daily remit,’ Dr Matthews said.
‘If you need dental treatment, call your regular dentists and if you don’t have one, use the ADA NSW online Dental Directory to find a dentist near you.’
‘Putting off seeing your dentist impacts your overall health. Over the past couple of months, many people were forced to delay routine dental treatment but dentists are now open and seeing patients,’ Dr Matthews said in a statment.