GSK Consumer Healthcare and IPSOS research show that Singaporeans are aware of the importance of oral health but neglect to do enough to maintain and improve their oral health.
Research conducted by GSK Consumer Healthcare and IPSOS reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tangible impact on people’s oral health habits and preferences. The survey covered 4,500 participants aged over 18 years old across 9 countries.
Based on the research, some key findings specifically about Singaporeans are:
#1 Consumers in Singapore are aware of the importance of oral health and its wider impact on overall health and mental health. However, many are not doing enough to maintain and improve their oral health
- 89 percent believe that good oral healthcare can benefit overall health.
- 85 percent believe that good oral healthcare can have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.
- 55 percent believe that good oral healthcare can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
- 52 percent believe that good oral healthcare can have a positive impact on controlling blood sugar levels or managing diabetes.
- 56 percent claim that they suffer from sensitive teeth issues, with 44 percent citing pain and discomfort in their teeth when eating or drinking in general
- 19 percent regularly visit the dentist for check-ups or cleaning.
- 23 percent of Singapore’s consumers indicated that they use specialised oral care products.
These survey findings hint at a lackadaisical attitude among Singapore’s consumers in managing their overall oral health, even as many of them are already suffering from at least one oral health issue.
#2 COVID-19 pandemic and circuit breaker measures led to behavioural change amongst Singapore’s consumers that could worsen overall oral health
- Over the pandemic, 26 percent claimed to have increased their consumption of snacks, 23 percent in coffee or tea, 15 percent in frozen treats, 9 percent in packaged fruit juice, and 8 percent in soft drinks
- These are the top three oral health conditions that Singaporeans suffer from: 56 percent indicated that they suffer from sensitive teeth, 36 percent indicated having stained/yellow teeth, and 20 percent indicated having plaque.
- When polled on how they actively manage their oral health conditions, the most turned to solution – with 38 percent of them indicating so – was to brush their teeth regularly.
- Only 14 percent of them claim to brush their teeth more frequently over the pandemic – despite increased intake of foods and beverages that could impact their overall oral health – a large majority of them (85 percent) reported sticking to the same frequency in brushing their teeth over the pandemic.
- Only 13 percent of Singapore’s consumers visit the dentist regularly for checkups.
Increased consumption of these types of food and beverage has a pronounced effect on oral health, especially in the accelerated wear on tooth enamel that cannot be restored naturally by the body.
#3 One in three of Singapore’s consumers have reduced their visits to the dentist
- Due to lockdown restrictions and aims to reduce COVID-19 transmission, 36 percent of consumers in Singapore have reduced their frequency or stopped visiting the dentist.
- Among respondents who claim to be worried or somewhat worried to visit the dentist is person, 30 percent of them fear that there could be many people in the dental clinic that would make it difficult for them to socially distance themselves from others; 27 percent think that there is a high chance of contracting COVID-19 from dental equipment; 31 percent indicated being unsure of whether dental clinics are sanitised and cleaned thoroughly.
Consumers need to be mindful that a holistic approach to oral care is key to maintaining good oral health. The decreased frequency in visits to the dentist for routine check-ups, coupled with largely unchanged oral care routines over the pandemic puts consumers in Singapore at risk of worsening their overall oral health, which could lead to the onset of knock-on effects to their overall health in the long-term, adopting good practices such as avoiding sugary and acidic food or drink, using specialised products, and regular visits to the dentist are all equally crucial to maintaining good overall oral health.Dr. Egbert Dorado, Medical Affairs Director, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare