This is according to new research from the Oral Health Foundation and Colgate-Palmolive.
It also found that one in six (15%) do not brush their teeth as much as they did prior to the pandemic. Additionally, almost one in five (19%) say they have not been brushing their teeth twice a day.
Neglected oral health
Other findings include:
- One in five (20%) are eating unhealthier foods
- One in 10 (11%) have been drinking more alcohol
- 84% of the population could be at increased risk of caries.
The research also reveals almost one-in-five (18%) have not visited a dentist for more than two years. And one in three (36%) have reported toothache during the pandemic, with 9% suffering for longer than two weeks.
Nigel Carter is chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation. He said: ‘A worrying number of patients have neglected their oral health during the pandemic. This could have potentially lasting consequences, not only for the health of their mouth but for their general wellbeing also.
‘The public’s awareness of what causes dental caries and how to prevent it, remains poor. Yet, preventing oral diseases like caries is completely in their own hands. All it takes is the correct care.’
Education and prevention
He adds: ‘Dental professionals have a key part to play in the education, prevention and management of dental caries inside and outside of the practice setting.
‘As part of the campaign, there are lots of patient-facing resources to download and share to help raise awareness of dental caries.
‘We believe this can have a significant impact on dental caries outcomes.’