Australia’s oral health getting worse … and COVID is not helping

oral health during COVID
Photo: nobility – 123rf

The increasing prevalence of tooth decay and gum disease among Australian adults are disturbing new trends in the nation’s oral health.

It’s a trend made worse, says the Australian Dental Association, by the current pandemic—with people avoiding the dentist due to fears of proximity to others, job losses resulting in people spending less on their health, and people stuck at home tucking more regularly into sugary treats.

Figures show Australian adults are keeping their teeth for longer—but one in three of us is walking around with untreated tooth decay, while one in four has periodontal disease with periodontal pockets 4mm or deeper.

These are just some of the alarming statistics from the Adult Oral Health Tracker progress report re-released for Dental Health Week (3-9 August 2020), the ADA’s annual oral health campaign.

“The Oral Health Tracker 2020 is a progress report that provides an update on how Australian adult oral health is tracking compared to the previous results in 2018 and against the targets set for 2025,” ADA oral health promoter Dr Mikaela Chinotti said.

“The results are in, and for gum disease and tooth decay, they’re not good. These conditions are largely preventable, yet they’ve increased in prevalence and we continue to get further away from our goal of improving Australia’s oral health.

“COVID-19 is only making this worse. We’re anticipating a spike in the number of tooth decay and other oral health issues to emerge once the pandemic is over.

“Given the findings, we’re asking Australians to make their oral health a priority even during the pandemic,” Dr Chinotti added.

This story was sourced from a media release on the ADA website.


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