PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A trip to the dentist can already cause some people anxiety. Pandemic concerns are pushing some to skip routine visits altogether.

What You Need To Know

  • Dentist Ronak Parikh with BayBreeze Dental warns of the dangers of delaying dental care

  • Despite putting safety protocols in place, Dr. Parikh says people are still reluctant

  • Parikh recommends twice-yearly trips for best dental care

But delaying dental care comes with dangers.

"In certain cases, we’re either going to start needing more extensive work or we might be losing teeth, and that’s our biggest concern because losing teeth decreases our ability to eat, chew, and be as healthy as we can," said Dr. Ronak Parikh, a dentist with BayBreeze Dental in Wesley Chapel.

Despite putting safety protocols in place, Dr. Parikh says many people are still reluctant.

"I would say it almost feels like half the patients have delayed the last year and a half, and the other half are at least behind schedule.”

Don Hough is one of those people who typically delays dental care, and the pandemic hasn't helped.

"I’ve had second thoughts with the COVID because I wanted to isolate as much as possible,” said Hough. "The sanitation aspect of it and it’s just never been a favorite thing of mine to go to the dentist."

Dr. Parikh says Hough isn't alone but warns getting even one year behind on dental care can cause big problems.

"Even someone who’s delayed maybe even a year can cause a lot of issues, and sometimes it’s broken teeth, sometimes it’s needing deeper cleanings. Those are the things we want to make sure we’re focusing on because ultimately things only get worse. They never get better on their own,” said Dr. Parikh.

Concerns aren't just in the mouth.

"There have been a lot of studies kind of linking between heart disease and periodontal disease," said Dr. Parikh. "Oral health really isn’t separate from the rest of your body. It's intimately linked."

Dr. Parikh recommends brushing and flossing twice a day and using mouthwash to get where the toothbrush cannot reach. He also reminds everyone to visit your dentist twice a year for an exam, x-rays and a cleaning.