Dr Kathleen Matthews. (Narrative Post/Matthias Engesser)
Dr Kathleen Matthews. (Narrative Post/Matthias Engesser)

Covid snack cycle could be hard to break

CAKES, biscuits and chocolate are easy solutions to the COVID-19 blues - but Coffs Coast residents are urged to minimise sugary treats and protect their teeth during the ongoing pandemic.

"In Coffs Harbour alone there were more than 200 potentially preventable hospitalisations for dental conditions in 2017-18, which illustrates what can happen when oral health deteriorates," Australian Dental Association NSW President Dr Kathleen Matthews said.

"Research has shown that people turn to sugary treats during periods of stress. It's understandable - but too many of these treats can wreck your oral health."

Latest NSW Health data shows more than 90,000 adults in NSW are waiting for public dental treatment and there were almost 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in the state in 2017-18 due to dental conditions.

A recent Monash University study showed that almost half of Australians aged 18-29 are feeling depressed or anxious in the current situation.

Studies have shown people turn to sugary treats during periods of stress to boost mood, but spikes in blood sugar levels encourage a cycle of snacking that can be difficult to break.

"We all enjoy an occasional treat, but habits can become hard to break and too many treats can really impact on your teeth," Dr Matthews said.

The recent Australian Oral Health Tracker showed 1 in 3 adults aged 15 and over have untreated tooth decay and about 1 in 2 Australian adults consume too much free sugar.

ADA NSW also reminds patients it is safe to visit their dentists for check-ups and treatments during the pandemic.

"Australian dentists have among the highest standards of infection control in the world. Infection control processes are part of every dentist's daily remit," Dr Matthews said.

"All dental treatments, including check-ups, orthodontics and fillings are being offered now along with additional patient screening and social distancing in waiting rooms."



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