Survey finds oral care changes brought by COVID- 19 can put Filipinos at risk of health issues

New research released today by Sensodyne and IPSOS reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tangible impact on people’s oral healthcare habits. 4,500 participants aged over 18 years old were surveyed online from five European countries (France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Russia) and four South-East Asian (SEA) countries (Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). Key findings for Philippine consumers from the research are below:

Most Filipinos are aware that poor oral health leads to other physical and mental health issues, but are not doing enough to ensure good oral health

At 95% of all Filipinos surveyed, almost all claim to believe that good oral healthcare can benefit overall health. However, while most Philippine consumers are aware of the effects that could stem from poor oral healthcare, the survey indicates that these consumers are not doing enough to properly manage their oral health.

This should raise cause for concern because many respondents claim to already suffer from at least one oral health issue. Continued disregard in addressing personal oral health concerns could predispose consumers to physical and mental health conditions – a risk that can be mitigated through proper oral care.

The shift in consumer behavior over the pandemic increased consumer susceptibility to worsened overall oral health

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to lifestyle changes for consumers in the Philippines. Compared to before the pandemic, 29% of Philippine consumers claimed to have increased their consumption of snacks, 35% in coffee or tea, 17% in frozen treats and packaged fruit juice, and 14% in soft drinks.

As it stands, consumers in the Philippines are already suffering from oral health conditions that can be
worsened by the consumption of such foods and beverages; 77% indicated that they suffer from sensitive teeth, 42% indicated having stained/yellow teeth, and 34% indicated having cavities – these were the top three oral health conditions that Philippines’ consumers suffer from.

When polled on the management of their oral health conditions, the most turned to solution at 51% – was to brush teeth regularly. This highlights the lack of more targeted strategies to manage oral health.

Keith Choy, Region Head, Asia Pacific, GSK Consumer Healthcare, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a distinct change in the way we go about our day-to-day lives, and the way we care for ourselves. It is encouraging to see that there is widespread awareness among consumers here around the drawn-out impacts of poor oral health. However, more needs to be done. Good oral healthcare practices are critical to a holistic self-care routine and overall health in the long run.”

“As experts in specialist oral health, GSK Consumer Healthcare is poised to help consumers manage and enhance their overall oral healthcare routines through our combined unique understanding of consumer needs with scientific innovation. We look forward to journeying with consumers in the Philippines towards better oral and self-care,” he added.

COVID-19 caused hesitance among Philippines’ consumers in visiting their dentists in person but increased self-management measures

Due to fears of contracting COVID-19, 70% of Philippine respondents worry about visiting a dentist in
person. At 56%, more than half of consumers in the Philippines surveyed have reduced or stopped their visits to the dentist.

While fears around contracting COVID-19 are not unfounded, given the risks and difficulties associated with travelling and seeing a dentist, consumers in the Philippines are also taking measures to help maintain their overall oral health. 

About one in two Philippine consumers (55%) claim to brush their teeth more frequently over the pandemic, 46% indicated having increased the use of mouthwash, and 38% claim they will buy more specialized products such as TP for sensitive and gum care in the coming weeks compared to their usual purchase pattern.

“Despite the changes in daily living brought on by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is certainly encouraging to see widespread awareness of the connection between good oral health and overall health among Filipinos. With an increase in frequency of oral care practices, and a decrease in lifestyle habits that could negatively impact our oral health, Filipinos need to take comprehensive measures in terms of maintaining their oral health,” said Dr Leo Gerald R. De Castro DMD, Managing Partner, Asian Centre for Dental Specialties.

He added, “Self-management practices with the use of specialized products, avoiding sugary food and drinks, and consulting a dentist – these factors all work together to form a holistic approach to oral care that Filipinos across the country can benefit from in the long term.”

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