Oral care: Routine and the loss of controlFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: Dental Design 8th May 2021
We’ve all been affected in one way or another by the substantial changes brought about by COVID-19. Efforts to prevent the spread of the virus have impacted work and school life, as well as our ability to gather with family and friends. These measures have also significantly influenced how we shop, exercise, worship, entertain ourselves, and celebrate holidays amongst other important social events. Restrictions on freedoms are likely to continue in some capacity until the pandemic eventually subsides, so it isn’t surprising that many people might feel they have lost a sense of security, predictability and – perhaps most importantly – control.
Humans are creatures of habit for a reason. The habits we foster through our day-to-day routines motivate us to achieve our goals and aspirations, providing structure in our approach to life. When we are doing something habitual, we are not engaged in the task in the same way as if we are doing something we’re unaccustomed to. Consider how effortlessly you make breakfast in your own kitchen on any given weekday, for example. It’s probably a simple, straightforward process that you don’t give much thought to and if something is on your mind at the time, you might not notice you’re eating breakfast until you’re halfway through it.
Now, compare that experience to making breakfast at a friend’s house. The chances are that you won’t feel as comfortable in that situation as you do at home, where making breakfast has become second nature. That’s the power of habit and it can be incredibly disorientating when habits are disrupted by sudden changes in routine. Many people have certainly had to adapt their habits and routines in the face of the pandemic. For some, a flexible attitude and the ability to “go with the flow” comes naturally but for others – who rely on control to function optimally – such a situation can be quite debilitating, making them feel anxious, frustrated and stressed.
The loss of control over one’s routine can ultimately have negative effects on general and oral health. According to the latest research, over half of British adults felt they had neglected their teeth during lockdown. Furthermore, around one in six admitted to not brushing their teeth as much as before the pandemic, whilst nearly one in five said they hadn’t been brushing their teeth twice a day. Lockdown measures have also fuelled unhealthy eating and drinking habits, with 20% of adults now consuming unhealthier foods and over 11% drinking more alcohol. Alarmingly, 18% have not seen a dentist for over two years, though not simply due to the pandemic.
As dental professionals are aware, these behaviours can increase a patient’s risk of developing oral health complications such as dental caries and periodontitis, resulting in prolonged pain or discomfort if left untreated. Indeed, 36% of adults in the UK have reported toothache during the pandemic, and almost one in four have gone online seeking at-home solutions for their dental pain.1 The danger of DIY dentistry is that patients could cause serious, lasting damage to their oral health, which is why dental teams should engage with patients about maintaining an effective oral care routine to minimise the risk of dental problems arising.
The COVID-19 crisis may have made it easy for some patients to fall into the mind-set that good health is beyond their control. The reality is that there are many elements of health that patients have full authority over, including the condition of their mouth. All it takes to ensure good oral health is to implement the correct care, which involves cleaning interdentally once a day and brushing the teeth and gums for at least two minutes twice-daily using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Fortunately, this is a simple routine that any patient can integrate into daily life with the right support.
Dental professionals can motivate patients to be pro-active and take back control of their oral health by recommending solutions designed to optimise oral hygiene. Curaprox offers a wide range of innovative, Swiss-made products that facilitate gentle and effective cleaning of the oral cavity, including its highly popular ‘Be you’ toothpastes – available in six exciting flavours and colours. These toothpastes can be combined with the award-winning Hydrosonic Pro electric toothbrush, featuring ultra-fine Curen® filaments and Curacurve® ergonomics that enable a thorough, atraumatic clean, even in the most hard-to-reach areas.
Routines and the habits we form within them can be helpful during crises, providing us with structure and a sense of purpose, whilst helping to make us feel more organised, focused and productive. At a time when freedoms are still restricted and many people may be struggling to adapt to on-going changes, it is important that patients are encouraged to engage with healthy behaviours as part of a routine. Oral care is just one element of day-to-day life that is within every patient’s power to control and will have many benefits to long-term overall health if done correctly.
Author Dawn Woodward National Sales manager Curaprox UK
 Oral Health Foundation. (2021) Lockdown forces Brits to become their own DIY dentists. Available at: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/lockdown-forces-brits-to-become-their-own-diy-dentists. [Last accessed: 12.02.21].
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