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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on oral health inequalities and access to oral healthcare in England

Stennett, Michelle; Tsakos, Georgios; (2022) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on oral health inequalities and access to oral healthcare in England. British Dental Journal , 232 pp. 109-114. 10.1038/s41415-021-3718-0. Green open access

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Abstract

While the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on health inequalities is documented, oral health has been absent from this discussion. This commentary highlights the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on oral health inequalities in England in February 2021. It includes a literature review, Public Health England and Kantar Worldpanel sales data on health behaviours and analysis of NHS dental services data. Purchasing data indicate, except for smoking, increases in health-compromising behaviours. Since the resumption of dental services, NHS general dental service use modestly recovered among adults but not children by October 2020. There are clear inequalities among children and older adults, with more deprived groups having lower uptake of dental service use than more affluent groups. Oral cancer referrals and hospital admissions for tooth extractions in children dramatically declined, with the latter primarily affecting children in more deprived areas. Many oral health programmes in schools and care homes were disrupted or suspended throughout this period. All these indicate that oral health inequalities have widened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An oral health plan of action requires prioritising long-term investment in public health programmes and transforming commissioning pathways to support those with the greatest needs to access oral healthcare services.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on oral health inequalities and access to oral healthcare in England
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41415-021-3718-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-021-3718-0
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0.
Keywords: Aged, COVID-19, Child, Delivery of Health Care, England, Health Status Disparities, Humans, Oral Health, Pandemics, SARS-CoV-2
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143108
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