A 'whole body' approach
Ben Flewett discusses dentistry’s important role in helping prevent a healthcare crisis.
The evidence of the impact of oral health on the general health of the nation was already strong and growing before the negative impact of Covid-19. Now faced with a huge backlog of appointments, exacerbated by the need to observe social distancing, fallow time and enhanced infection control, the long-term effects of poor or neglected oral health are likely to be felt for many years to come.
It's been reported that during the 10-week shutdown of UK dental practices earlier this year, 13m appointments were ‘lost’ – either cancelled or postponed. But this figure only tells part of the story. What is not yet known is the effect of these missed appointments and the subsequent neglect of oral health issues on the general health of the nation. Thankfully, in the latest lockdown dental practices have remained open as ‘essential services’, but I believe it will take years to recover the ground we have lost from the enforced closures earlier in the year and the ongoing limitations in general practice.