Dentists raise concerns over the impact of lockdown on childrens’ dental health
Dentists have raised concerns over the impact of lockdown on childrens’ dental health in the UK.
Speaking to the BBC’s Newsround programme, dentist Hannah Woolnough said that there will be effects of missed appointments and the suspension of dental schemes and initiatives in schools and community centres. Children who weren’t able to go to school have slipped out of a routine and many have not been able to access routine dental services, which play a crucial role in lowering the risk of decay and dental infections.
Ms Woolnough also suggested that many children will have changed their eating and drinking habits outside of school, with studies suggesting that most families snacked more during the lockdown. While most children only have access to water at school, they may have been drinking more sugary beverages at home, including fizzy drinks, juices and cordial.
In a Newsround interview with brother and sister, Elsie and Arthur, Elsie, 7, admitted that her family had eaten more sugary foods than normal during the lockdown and said that she snacked most days.
A survey carried out by Oral-B revealed that a third of children have experienced dental issues since last year, and dentists are already seeing the impact of the pandemic. Ms Woolnough said that there has been an increase in the number of children needing their teeth extracted as a result of severe decay. In some cases, this may have been preventable if children had been able to see a dentist earlier.