The effect of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on oral health behavior of Turkish society

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontology, School of Dentistry, Usak University, Usak, Turkey

10.22122/johoe.2020.192345.1126

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused widespread public health concerns and has recently been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Understanding behavioral responses and other precautionary behaviors related to the pandemic may help to improve public oral health behavior and information about community health risks. Studies are largely reliant on the monitoring of COVID-19 outcomes in clinical settings and health behavior responses to pandemics, but no research has sought to examine how individuals’ oral health behaviors are affected during the pandemic. In this context, the aim of this research is to determine whether Turkish individuals’ oral health behaviors changed during the pandemic.
METHODS: This population-based study was conducted in Usak, Turkey. A representative sample of individuals were recruited through three stage cluster sampling multistage cluster sampling method. It was designed to assess the public’s oral health response during the COVID-19 pandemic by using a three-part online questionnaire that contained 15 questions. The first part measured demographic data, the second part identified oral health behaviors, and the last part evaluated precautionary behaviors.
RESULTS: A total of 2589 individuals, 1584 (61.2%) women and 1005 (38.8%) men were included.The rate of individuals who brushed their teeth twice or more daily before the COVID-19 pandemic was 41.0%, and this proportion increased to 48.4% during the pandemic. The frequency of toothbrushing increased significantly during the pandemic (P < 0.05, chi-square test). A total of 600 (58.1%) smokers decreased smoking per day during the pandemic.
CONCLUSION: Within the limitations of this study, our results suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with beneficial changes in toothbrushing and smoking behaviors.

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