We have recently conducted a study that looked at how working from home during the period of the Coronavirus social distancing measures, impacted on behaviours which affect oral hygiene. The study assimilated survey responses from U.K. residents, both male and female, between the ages of 18 and 60, all of whom are in full or part-time employment and all of whom have worked at home since the outbreak of the virus.

The impact of working from home on oral consumption

The study indicates that people working from home during the period of confinement are eating, drinking, and smoking more.

A significant amount of the increased consumption is of products likely to be detrimental to dental health. 36% of participants said they are eating more snacks, 34% more sugary foods and 18% more sugary drinks. Alcohol consumption was up by 31% and those who smoke or vape indicated that their consumption has increased.

There were also increases in the consumption of meat and poultry, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables and dairy products, suggesting that people working from home are eating more of the foodstuffs which they enjoy.

Question: What of the following, if any, have you increased consumption since you started working from home? Check all that apply. (n=266, at 90% CL)

The impact of working from home on behaviours relating to oral hygiene

Over 50% of participants in the study said that they were spending more time on oral hygiene. 

Question: how much additional time, if any, do you spend on oral hygiene since you started working from home? (n=266, at 90% CL)

Findings indicate that those who had visited the dentist at least once in the previous twelve months were almost 12% more likely to increase their oral hygiene when working from home.

(Filtered by respondents who have visited the dentist at least 1 time in the past 12 months) Question: how much additional time, if any, do you spend on oral hygiene since you started working from home? (n=266, at 90% CL)

Dental Products Usage

Over 73% of participants said that they replace their toothbrush at least every 6 months and 35% every 1-3 months.

Question: How often do you change your toothbrush? (n=266, at 90% CL)

Toothbrushes, mouthwash, floss, floss picks, tongue scrapers, interdental brushes and teeth whitening products were all being used more during the period of working from home.

The most significant benefit to oral hygiene was seen in the use of the toothbrush, with 26% of respondents saying that they spend more time brushing their teeth than they did before. 15% are using mouthwash more and 11% are spending more time flossing their teeth.

Which, if any, dental products have you been using more since you started working from home? Check all that apply. (n=266,  at 90% CL)

Conclusions

Increased personal time, coupled with an increased level of anxiety, has resulted in the recipients of the survey increasing their consumption of food and drink. The responses of the recipients suggest that a significant percentage of this increased consumption is of products which may be detrimental to oral health. A benefit of the necessity of working from home is that there has been a significant increase in the use of products which benefit oral health.

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