UK prepares for a wave of post-lockdown tooth decay

The nationwide lockdown earlier this year wrought a lot of effects on the nation, from financial to healthcare. Oral health was one of the many things to suffer, especially for children. As the lockdown wore on and many parents had to juggle working from home with full time child care, sugary treats became an increasingly common tactic to keep children quiet or entertained for a few precious minutes at a time. (Which I understand, as I’m a parent myself!)

What’s more, since children and adults didn’t manage to get to dental surgeries during lockdown, we’re now potentially looking at a wave of post-lockdown tooth decay. That becomes all the more significant in light of a recent article by, which has explained that it remains the most common reason for hospital admissions in nine to five year olds.

Missed checkups

A recent survey was carried out by the Association of Dental Groups, which represents practices across the UK. According to the results, about half of parents said that their children had missed a check-up since March. The survey asked 2000 respondents, including 622 parents. 31% said that their family hadn’t made an appointment due to the lockdown, whereas 13% said that they’d tried, but limited availability meant that they hadn’t been able.

There are similar concerns around children’s oral health, as their enamel is much softer and thinner, and the ‘lockdown diets’ of so many of them over the spring and part of the summer this year has increased their risk of tooth decay.

So, what can you do?

We understand that appointments may still often be delayed for the time being, compared to how it was before lockdown. Although dental practices have been able to re-open since the 8th of June, we’re still subject to very strict cleaning protocols, which we obviously take very seriously here at AP Smilecare. That means that as we work to make the environment safe between each patient, we’re unfortunately able to see fewer patients that we used to be.

Rest assured that we’re doing as much as we can to see as many patients as possible, and we’ve made sure that there are no extra charges for PPE or anything similar. We’ve also increased the hours of all our clinicians so that we can offer more appointments to our patients.

So until you’re able to book an appointment, really the best thing you can do is look after your oral health (and that of your family) as best you can, and try not to let it slide as we move into the winter months, where sugary treats and drinks become a lot more widespread! It’s worth bearing in mind that some type of tooth damage is reversible if it’s caught early enough, can be improved with stringent oral hygiene habits, so I can’t stress the importance of it enough!

Brushing regularly and doing what you can to limit your intake of sugary foods, sweets and drinks is your best bet, once you book an appointment. And if that might seem like a tough ask with Halloween coming up, I might have a few suggestions that can help – we previously posted a blog post on the best sweets you can enjoy guilt-free during Halloween, so hopefully you can find a few ideas in there!

Meanwhile, if you want to book an appointment or if you’ve got any questions about anything specific, our friendly team is always here to do what we can. We’re still taking care to offer a daily emergency service, so you can always trust to be here for you if you need some urgent help. If you need some quick advice, or you want to book an appointment for one of our other dentistry services, feel free to give us a call on 01254 270 000!