Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pro-health behaviors in the field of oral health, hygiene habits and attitude to dental care among Polish children and youth in the opinion of their parents

Wojciech Frąckiewicz, Gabriela Niewczas, Katarzyna Załęska, Magdalena Ziętek, Marta Ludwiczak, Ewa Jurkowska, Agnieszka Kus-Bartoszek, Anna Jarząbek


Introduction: The turn of 2019 and 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2, saw major changes in the health sector, including the functioning of dental offices. Many of them were closed for several months, while others limited admission to emergencies only. In Poland, access to a dentist was therefore reduced for a considerable time. This may have contributed to the deterioration of the patients’ oral health. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pro-health behaviors regarding the oral health of children and their visits to dental offices in the opinion of their parents.
Materials and methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted with 103 parents of children aged 0–18.
Results: The study showed that the pandemic has affected the health sector and oral health. New devices and materials have appeared in dental offices that increase patient safety and reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection; 84.3% of respondents felt safe in them, and 56% noticed new elements related to safety. The frequency of visits to dental offices decreased in most of the respondents. The reasons included the parents’ lack of time (17.6%), lack of available visits (6.9%), and fear of infection (13.7%). During the pandemic, the oral hygiene condition of 59.3% of children was maintained at the same level, and deteriorated for 15.5%; 62.2% of children did not change their diet, while the deterioration of dietary habits affected 19.4% of the respondents. The main source (67%) from which parents obtained knowledge about fluoride was the Internet.
Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, most children did not change their dietary and hygienic behavior. The frequency of children’s follow-up visits has decreased, which may contribute to the deterioration of their oral health.


children; dietary habits; oral hygiene; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19

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Copyright (c) 2023 Wojciech Frąckiewicz, Gabriela Niewczas, Katarzyna Załęska, Magdalena Ziętek, Marta Ludwiczak, Ewa Jurkowska, Agnieszka Kus-Bartoszek, Anna Jarząbek

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