February 8th, 2021

// Survey Reveals COVID-19 is a Major Factor in Americans’ Failing Dental Health

CHICAGO — A recent survey commissioned by the American Association of Endodontists reveals that more than half of Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic has caused them to put off general dental check-ups, which can lead to serious oral health problems. The survey also showed that the pandemic is takings its toll on those working or studying remotely when it comes to changes to their daily dental hygiene routine. Significant findings include:

  • 31% were snacking more on sweets
  • 28% didn’t schedule or forgot to schedule a dental visit
  • 1 in 4 said they waited until later in the morning to brush their teeth, while 21% didn’t brush in the morning at all
  • There was also a major drop off in flossing, with 24% saying they’re flossing less frequently, while 23% say they aren’t flossing
  • Millennials more frequently reported experiencing dental disruptions, with 43% of those surveyed indicating that working from home or attending virtual classes from home led to disruptions to their usual dental hygiene habits during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Clearly, the pandemic is causing a major disruption in Americans’ dental habits, which is leading to more serious tooth problems. Fortunately, it appears much of the public understands the importance of facing serious dental issues head on: Even with the pandemic, 60% say experiencing tooth pain that won’t go away would lead them to make a dental appointment. The survey also asked about tooth loss versus procedures to save a bad tooth, with four out of five people stating that it’s better to go the root canal route versus extraction.

When it comes to tooth pain, it’s important to know that an endodontist is a toothache sufferer’s greatest ally. It’s also important to remember that it is extremely safe to visit the endodontist in the era of COVID-19, with endodontists practicing the utmost caution and disinfection protocol. Even at the height of the U.S.’s COVID-19 shutdown period in the spring of 2020, most endodontic practices remained open to safely treat dental emergencies.

To keep emergency rooms clear, in the case of a dental emergency, you should continue seek an endodontist instead of dialing 911.

To learn more, visit aae.org/patients. Download our COVID-19 infographic here.

“If you’re suffering with a toothache that wakes you up out of a sound sleep at night, or because you’re eating hot or cold food, you need an endodontist,” says Dr. Alan H. Gluskin, President of American Association of Endodontists. “You should not delay treatment.”

AAE experts are available to discuss this topic further. Contact the AAE to schedule an interview today!

Alan Gluskin, D.D.S. Dr. Alan Gluskin, D.D.S., is the President of the American Association of Endodontists, and is professor and vice chair of the Department of Endodontics at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, in San Francisco.

Mark B. Desrosiers, D.M.D. Dr. Desrosiers is a Board-certified endodontist and serves as a clinical assistant professor in the department of endodontics at Boston University School of Dental Medicine. He is chair of the AAE’s Public and Professional Relations Committee, which is integral to the Association’s important Worth Saving public campaign.

Avina K. Paranjpe, BDS, M.S., MSD, Ph.D. Dr. Avina Paranjpe is associate professor, Endodontics, at University of Washington School of Dentistry. Dr. Paranjpe says there is definitely an increase in cracked tooth cases she is seeing in the graduate endodontic clinic and in private practice. 

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