Since March 2020 COVID-19 has been making headlines, especially in the oral health field. Now, nearly two years later, the conversation is shifting – away from dental office closures, limited capacity, and infection control procedures to the clinical outcomes that are becoming more apparent to dental professionals. In partnership with the Kentucky Primary Care Association, KOHC gathered insights from oral health professionals around the state about the impact of COVID-19 on oral health.

The findings, outlined in a new infographic, highlight the changes to oral health routines and care that COVID-19 has caused among Kentuckians and the outcomes that are associated with a decrease in routine care. Oral health professionals reported that the pandemic has led to a loss of routine for many families, leading to a decrease in healthy choices while working and learning at home and delaying preventive care at the dental office. Another theme that was identified is the impact that stress from the pandemic has had on people’s teeth, such as teeth grinding, resulting in an increased need for bite guards.

These changes in oral health routines, both at home and in the dental office, can lead to negative outcomes such as an increase in the rate of tooth decay and urgent dental needs including pain, swelling, and infection in the mouth, as well as negative impacts on an individual’s overall health.

Although the pandemic has negatively impacted oral health for Kentuckians, there’s an easy way to get back on track – get back to the basics of oral health with these tips:

  • Brush for two minutes, twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste and floss once per day.
  • Limit sugary drinks and snacks and choose fluoridated tap water.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months for preventive care – it’s safe to go!

Check out the new infographic to learn more.