Many Brits have found it easier to maintain better oral health during the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to the Oral Health Foundation (OHF), which noted that young people in particular say their oral health habits have improved.
According to the OHF, 20% of its survey respondents said they now take more time brushing their teeth. That percentage increases to 27% among those between the ages of 18 and 24, compared to 13% of those over the age of 55. Additionally, 14% of those surveyed said they used mouthwash more during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, OHF chief executive Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, said that people should chew sugar-free gum to take care of their oral health when they aren’t at home.
“When it comes to oral health on the go, chewing sugar-free gum can provide a handy boost. Chewing sugar-free gum encourages saliva flow, the body’s natural defense to acids from food and drinks,” said Carter.
“By keeping some handy in a drawer in the office, or in your coat pocket or handbag, you’ll always have an oral health pick-me-up right at your fingertips,” he said.
“As well as sugar-free gum, you could also keep a small travel-size bottle of mouthwash in a drawer or your coat pocket,” he added.
“By making a mental note to use the mouthwash straight after lunch or have some sugar-free gum, you can start to cement the habit and ensure that your oral health remains in top shape throughout the day,” Carter said.
The OHF survey spotlighted poor oral hygiene habits too. For example, 10% of those surveyed have used a business card to clean between their teeth, and the equivalent of about 2 million said they have used the back of an earring to interdentally clean.
“As lockdown restrictions ease and we are able to cautiously return to doing the things we all love, we must continue to look after our oral health,” said David Henderson, oral healthcare program manager at Mars Wrigley, which is partnering with OHF in its National Smile Month 2021 campaign.
“As we enter a new normal, our oral healthcare routines must also adapt, ensuring that alongside brushing twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste, additional measures are taken to help prevent tooth decay,” Henderson said.
“Chewing sugar-free gum after eating and drinking is an easy and enjoyable way to look after your smile on the go, and it is supported by dental professionals,” he said.
“The Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme is delighted to continue to our support for National Smile Month for the eighth consecutive year. The campaign plays an essential role in ensuring that the public are aware of the importance of good oral health routines,” Henderson said.
Scheduled from May 17 through June 17, National Smile Month includes activities and competitions designed for the whole family.