The Surprising Way The Pandemic Is Affecting Oral Hygiene

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to completely restructure their lives — including their daily routines. A 2022 article published in the scientific journal BDJ In Practice showed that during the course of the pandemic, deodorant sales declined, people changed their clothes less often and showered less frequently, and improvements in oral hygiene were minimal.

Now, a new survey focusing exclusively on the oral health habits of adults in the U.K. during the pandemic reveals that regular tooth brushing is on the decline (via The survey, conducted by OnePoll, revealed that 22% of the 2,000 participants polled reported going as many as three days between brushings. Further findings determined that nearly 30% of respondents did not associate a lack of oral hygiene with the development of future health problems.

Furthermore, nearly 25% of participants reported foregoing their dentists visits in 2021; 36% of respondents attributed their lack of brushing to it simply having slipped their mind, while 28% reported a preoccupation with what they felt were more significant health concerns during the pandemic.

Perspectives on oral hygiene are shifting in 2022

The Guardian explored the progressive shifts in their readers' oral hygiene habits. One such reader explained, "I started to brush my teeth once a day most days, instead of two," while another reader cited mental health struggles during the pandemic that made keeping up with oral care difficult, which resulted in a painful dental appointment several months later.

Adults are not the only ones experiencing an oral health decline in the midst of the pandemic. A 2021 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry determined that just over 33% of the 120 parents sampled "took extra efforts to maintain their child's oral hygiene."

Due to the emotional and mental toll the pandemic has taken on individuals and families alike, it's understandable that self-care would become difficult to maintain. For a quarter of adult respondents to the recent OnePoll survey, however, the findings have served as a wake-up call, with participants reporting a shift in mindset from tooth brushing as a "chore" to a necessary health practice (via Brushing twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste is among ​​the American Dental Association's various recommendations for maintaining proper oral hygiene in order to reduce the risk of plaque buildup and subsequent tooth decay and gum disease (via Mayo Clinic).