An Australian Dental Association (ADA) spokesperson has warned residents staying indoors during lockdowns (or not), that snacking more frequently increases the risk of long term dental problems. While Australia’s track record on oral health is patchy at the best of times, with COVID lockdowns springing up like mushrooms all over Eastern Australia, it’s potentially going to get a whole lot worse for our oral health.

More Australians binge snacking

ADA NSW President, Dr Kathleen Mathews, has revealed that during Covid, an estimated 66% of Australians snacked more often. And 33% reported they had increased binge eating of foods and beverages, high in sugar, bad fats and refined carbohydrates. The big problem with comfort snacks and treats, such as chocolate, biscuits and soft drink, is that consuming too much of them puts your mouth at risk.

The oral health risks of binge eating snacks

In addition to increasing your risk for diabetes, obesity and heart issues, your risk for oral plaque, tooth decay, cavities and oral disease go up significantly. Prior to Covid, tens of thousands of potentially preventable dental treatments and hospitalisations were recorded across Australia annually. Now, during Covid lockdowns, the oral risks from more binge eating have increased, while full access to dental care has conversely decreased. That’s because regular scheduling and provision of basic dental care, such as dental check-ups and cleans, have been been impacted by Covid restrictions also.

Healthier food choices & dental checkups are essential

With more Australians choosing or forced to stay at home more often, our snacking & regular check-up issues aren’t going away anytime soon. And everyone knows that to fuel a Netflix binge, you’ll always need a snack food binge to match. However, the ADA’s best advice to Australians during this time is not to stop watching Netfix, but to just make healthier food choices, exercise, drink more water and clean your teeth properly twice daily. Last but not least, when the opportunity presents itself – Get out & Get a dental check up!