Mounting evidence over the years has led to the consensus: oral health and general health are inextricably linked.
“It is reported, for example, that diabetes mellitus is linked with the development and progression of periodontitis. Moreover, there is a causal link between high consumption of sugars and diabetes, obesity and dental caries,” according to the World Health Organization.
The surge of direct-to-consumer options was already starting before COVID-19. Once the pandemic swept in and brought the dentistry and orthodontics sectors mostly to a stand-still, some consumers began eyeing a do-it-yourself approach to oral health.
The abundance of direct-to-consumer products has flooded the market, which has caused controversy in the dental industry.
The Canadian Dental Association recently issued a public statement regarding direct-to-consumer dental appliances warning consumers to be informed before purchasing direct-to-consumer products that “may not give you the most appropriate care to achieve your desired results.”
Bleaching kits for teeth whitening, do-it-yourself aligners to fix crowding or straighten teeth, occlusal splints that temporarily modify the bite, anti-snoring contraptions, and tooth guards to protect teeth are some examples of what is currently hitting the market.
According to the association, a dentist is in the best position to recommend necessary dental treatment options.
It is important for patients to receive a complete clinical oral examination, diagnosis, and treatment recommendation tailored for them and helps with overall health needs.
Discussing options, creating a plan with your dentist, having a dentist monitor progress, and provide follow-up care after plan completion are all essential steps for oral health that are often bypassed in the direct-to-consumer approach.
The CDA also cautions that if a direct-to-consumer appliance causes complications, your dentist may have limited “choices to help, correct, or address your situation.”
COVID-19 precautions that limited regular office visits are also a reason to see a dentist as things open up. The pandemic led to shifts in behavior just as people were not receiving regular dental care. People began skipping their twice-daily toothbrushing and began to snack more frequently, according to the FDI World Dental Federation.
Experts are deeming this past year as having “catastrophic aftermath…on the health of people’s teeth and gums in dental practices around the globe.” “Let’s call it what it is—a dental disaster,” said Dr. Gerhard Konrad Seeberger, president of FDI World Dental Federation. “Restrictions have certainly played a part in oral health hesitancy.” However, he noted, they do not tell the entire story.
According to the World Health Organization, oral health was one of the essential health services most impacted by the pandemic, with 77% of countries reporting disruption.
Dental professionals are now faced with an oral health crisis as there is a higher prevalence of tooth decay and more advanced gum disease.
In recent times, it has perhaps never been more important for people to visit their area dentists. For those Canadians located in the Ottawa metro area, it is important to find a good Ottawa downtown dentist.