23 Nov 20

New figures from the British Dental Association show that dentists have provided around 19 million fewer treatments in England between March and October this year, compared to the same period in 2019.

As a result, patients have needed to be more self-reliant about their oral health while they have been unable to visit the dentist or hygienist.

The BDA’s estimate includes both routine checkups and emergency treatment appointments, with practices operating at about a third of last year’s level. A huge backlog has developed, especially in NHS practices, which will impact particularly on children and on people on low incomes.

The BDA has written to the government, warning of a looming ‘oral health crisis’, and has said that the reduction in the number of patients seen, together with the likelihood of many practices being forced out of business, could have a drastic effect on people’s oral health. This would include not only caries but also serious conditions such as mouth cancers, which are picked up at routine checkups.

This stark warning is reflected in the result of a live poll of dental health professionals that was taken during BioMin’s webinar last week. In an innovative move, participants at the webinar were asked their views on a number of questions, and these were calculated and posted up live during the webinar.

Approximately 700 people signed up for the webinar about dentine hypersensitivity and were asked: ‘During the pandemic to what extent has your patients’ oral health been compromised?’ The response was that 50% of the participants believed there had been a slight decline, 26% thought this decline was significant, and 16% felt there was a considerable increase in caries and other dental problems among their patients.

Some dentists are noticing that patients are using a high level of painkillers to manage dental pain by themselves, but more importantly, people need to be taking extra care of their own mouth to avoid the need for emergency treatment. This is where BioMin® F comes in.

BioMin F works on a slow-release principle, adhering to the surface of the teeth, and slowly releasing an optimum combination of fluoride, calcium and phosphate ions. Working in concert with the saliva in the mouth, these ions form fluorapatite, the fluoride analogue of natural tooth mineral, which is deposited on the surface and inside the minute dentinal tubules, blocking them and preventing the fluid movement which causes dentine hypersensitivity. In addition, studies have shown that BioMin F acts to remineralise the tooth surface, strengthening the teeth and protecting them from decay. BioMin F’s protective effect lasts up to 12 hours, and even as long as 24 hours in some cases.

BioMin® F for Kids is specially formulated in child-friendly fruit flavours to protect children’s teeth in the same way, and BioMin® C is available for those who do not wish to use a fluoride toothpaste.

Dentists are working flat out to reduce the backlog of missed appointments, but the need to clean thoroughly between each patient to avoid transmitting the virus means that they cannot see their usual numbers of patients each day.

One patient told us: ‘I phoned to make an appointment and was told that “due to reduced funding from the NHS we aren’t able to offer NHS appointments at present, but you can be added to a waiting list for checkups which will take some months. However, if you wish to go privately (£20 per child and £35 per adult for a 15-minute appointment) we could see you as early as next week."’

This situation could continue for many months to come. If you are unable to get to see your dentist or hygienist, using BioMin F means you can feel assured that your teeth are being protected in the best way possible.