Using health literacy to promote oral health


The pandemic has touched every aspect of peoples' lives - including hte health of their teeth.

In early 2020, dental offices across the country shut down. But when most reopened a few months later, the number of dentist office visits was still 20% lower than before the pandemic.

According to a survey from the American Association of Endodontists, more than half of Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason why they have been putting off trips to the dentist offices.

This has a big impact. Tooth decay gets worse if it’s not treated. There is also a health equity connection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, groups who are more likely to be impacted by COVID-19 are also at higher risk for oral diseases.



How can providers promote oral health right now? Education and health literacy is important.                       

Patients should know that visiting dentist offices is safe and it is needed to stay healthy. Here is more information you could use to help spread this message:                       

  • COVID-19 and Dental Care – This Minnesota Department of Health page explains why seeing a dentist is so important. It also lists quick tips to practice good hygiene at home.
  • Healthy Teeth. Healthy Baby. – The Minnesota Department of Health’s campaign includes posters in different languages, key messages and talking points, post cards and more.
  • Oral Health Tips for Families – This PDF from Head Start has helpful statistics and suggestions you can reference.

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