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THE EFFECTS OF THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) PANDEMIC ON DENTAL PATIENTS’ ATTITUDES AND ORAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN THAILAND

AİSOON RUETAİJETJAROEN, THAKSAPORN SİRİCHANYAPHONG, JİRATCHAYA NUNTACHURAT, SURAPHONG YUMA, CHANİTA TANTİPOJ

European Journal of General Dentistry - 2023;12(3):189-198

 

Objectives The aim of this study was to determine oral problems and attitude of dental patients toward the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand. Materials and MethodsThis cross-sectional study used a questionnaire consisting of four parts: demographic data, oral health problems before and during the COVID-19 outbreak, daily behavior and oral hygiene care during the pandemic, and attitudes toward the effects of COVID-19 situations and oral health problems in Thailand. It is randomly distributed to the dental patients at the Faculty of Dentistry, Mahidol University. Statistical AnalysisDescriptive statistics and Pearson’s chi-squared test were used to determine the correlation between each individual demographic data and the attitudes toward the COVID-19 effect. McNemar’s test was used to examine the association between oral problem before and during the pandemic. ResultsAmong the total of 409 participants, 59.9% believed that the COVID-19 situation impacted their oral health. The fractions are 64.6 and 50.7% for females and males, respectively. Halitosis and gum bleeding showed significant increase during the pandemic from 9.3 to 15.4% and 5.9 to 10.3%, respectively. Unchanged tooth brushing habit was reported in 86.3% of respondents, while only 44.6% reported unchanged consumption of sugary snacks and/or beverages. COVID-19 caused more difficulty in accessing the dental service for 89.5% of respondents. The majority of the participants were not worried about their safety while receiving dental treatment after the pandemic, but they believed that the pandemic influenced their decision to seek dental treatment. ConclusionInadequate oral hygiene appears to be the main reason for the increase in cases of halitosis and gum bleeding during the pandemic. Viral infection preventive measures and protocols greatly affected the patients’ decision to visit a dentist. This information could serve as a primary reference for both dentists and administrators in preparing actions in case a similar pandemic occurs in the future.