Possibly 20 million dental appointments have been delayed or cancelled since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the OHF survey of more than 2,000 British adults backs this up. Of those surveyed, 45% reported delays to their dental appointments or treatments in the last 12 months. By way of comparison, those figures were 11% for mental health support, 30% for GP surgeries and 16% for hospital services.12% said they had accessed remote dentistry services in the last 12 months, and 74% said they prefer physical appointments with their dental team.
Oral Health Foundation CEO, Dr Nigel Carter, said: “Dentistry has been severely underfunded for many years and services have suffered greatly during the pandemic. To address the backlog caused by COVID-19 restrictions, and to ensure dentistry does not fall behind other crucial health services, now is the time for government to provide more funding and invest in the nation’s oral health. Regular dental visits are key for maintaining good oral health. Dentists can spot oral health problems in the early stages and provide patients with advice and care that can save them from both invasive and expensive treatments later down the line. Dentists also conduct potentially life saving mouth cancer checks as part of every routine appointment. Many people are unaware when it comes to mouth cancer symptoms and how to look for it and therefore the only mouth cancer check they’d get is when they have their regular appointment. Dental professionals have done an excellent job adapting during the pandemic in spite of very difficult challenges. The good news is that many dentists, dental hygienists and therapists, are now able to see fare more patients than they were last summer, and the range of treatments available should be back to normal. If you have not seen a dentist since the beginning of the pandemic, I would urge you to give them a call and enquire about an appointment. Regular dental visits are crucial for maintain a good standard of oral health and can identify problems long before they become more serious.”
“Dental professionals have done an excellent job adapting during the pandemic in spite of very difficult challenges.“
Dr Carter continued: “A healthy smile can be achieved at home with a simple and easy daily routine. The most important action you can take is to brush your teeth for two minutes, last thing at night and one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste. It also means cleaning between your teeth every day with interdental brushes or floss and also cutting down how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Dental disease is largely preventable. Following these steps will set you up on the path for a lifetime of good oral health