May 11, 2021
by Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH
This past year has been a challenge and we have all felt the impact that COVID-19 has played in our lives, both professionally and personally.
Anxiety levels are at an all-time high. There is fear for contracting the virus for oneself or loved ones and fear of having to go to the hospital. There is a tremendous amount of anticipation for the vaccination and the frustration around the slow roll-out.
The CDHA recently conducted a survey through Abacus Data, to study the impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ dental hygiene care.
There were many takeaways from this survey. One that stood out the most for me:
Only 4 in 10 Canadians have seen their dental hygienist since March 20201
Today a memory, from one year ago, popped up on my Facebook page. I recorded a video for my friends and family for April’s Oral Health month, sharing that dental hygiene treatment is their best defence, that dental hygienists are essential and encouraging them to take care of their oral health as best as possible at home, during the lockdown.
Some things have changed since I posted that video. The biggest thing being that the government now recognizes dental hygienists as ‘essential healthcare workers’ and can treat clients.
What has not changed is the important message to maintain optimal oral hygiene and that it is our personal responsibility to stay safe, healthy and out of the hospitals.
To discover that only 4 out of 10 Canadians have seen their dental hygienist since March 2020 is disconcerting.
My message remains the same. It is important that we continue to educate the public that they need to visit their dental hygienist. If they do not come to see us, we need to equip them the best way possible so that they can take care of their oral health.
A study was recently published in the ‘European Federation of Periodontology’s Journal of Clinical Periodontology, showing the association between periodontitis and severity of COVID‐19 infection. The study found that COVID-19 patients with periodontitis were 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care, 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator, and almost nine times more likely to die compared to those without periodontal disease!2
A recent study published in the IDJ showed that clients with gingivitis on the Oral B iO power brush, stannous fluoride paste, CPC rinse and floss improved by 100%, 80% for those on the iO and stannous versus those on a manual brush and sodium fluoride, improved by 20%.3
The fight is real. The studies are there. The time is now. We need to change our messaging from a dental “cleaning” to one of a medical appointment and share the message of the importance that what our clients use at home matters.
Let’s change the odds and not shoot for 20 out of 100. Let’s shoot for 100!
About the Author
Kathleen is the president of rdhu, a Professional Development company, which provides team events, hands- on programs and online learning to help Transform the Dental Hygiene Experience for the clinician, the client/patient and the practice. www.rdhu.ca