Oral Healthcare Utilization Takes a Deep Dip During Pandemic
New research by Delta Dental has unveiled a concerning decrease in preventive oral healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the study, “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Oral Healthcare Use in the United States Through December 2021,” demonstrates a significant reduction in preventive dental services that extended for more than a year, especially among individuals under the age of 65. Various factors, such as loss of employer-sponsored dental benefits, COVID-19 exposure concerns, and dental office staff shortages, may have contributed to this decline. The study also identified a notable surge in the distribution of night guards to adult patients, potentially indicating an increase in stress-related teeth grinding. The delays in access to dental care could lead to an increase in dental caries and periodontal diseases, which in turn could exacerbate other health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke risk. Delta Dental plans to conduct follow-up research using national oral health claims data from 2022 to gain further insights into this critical issue. Click here to read more.