14 December 2020

COVID-19 restrictions lead to poorer oral health and long-term problems

A new study published today by the University of Melbourne and the eviDent Foundation highlights the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the provision of dental care to vulnerable children in Australia who already experience higher levels of dental disease and disadvantage in accessing dental care.

Lead author and CEO of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) A/Prof Matt Hopcraft said the research found that from March to September there were 881,454 fewer dental services provided in 2020 than 2019.

“Restrictions imposed on dentists to provide only emergency dental care effectively shut down dental practices in late March through April, and again when Victoria experienced a second wave from July to September,” said A/Prof Hopcraft.

“April saw an 86.9 per cent decrease in treatment provided through the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) to vulnerable children across Australia, and this was replicated in Victoria later in the year”.

Restrictions on the provision of dental care were deemed necessary to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19, but the impact of these restrictions on oral health will be long lasting. Given the chronic and progressive nature of dental disease, the deferral of necessary preventive dental care is likely to contribute to poorer oral health and long-term problems for many Australians.

Impact of COVID-19 on the provision of paediatric dental care: Analysis of the Australian Child Dental Benefits Schedule

Download the media release

Media enquiries:

For interviews with A/Prof Matt Hopcraft please contact the ADAVB: comms@adavb.org or 8825 4600.

About the eviDent Foundation

The eviDent Foundation is a health-promotion charity supporting Australia’s only Dental Practice Based Research Network. eviDent enhances the clinical outcomes of dental practice and improves patient care by facilitating research within and relevant to dental practices.