Twitter communication of the UK public on dental health and care during a COVID lockdown: “My kingdom for a dentist”

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  • Magdalena Rzewuska
  • Thomas Lamont
  • Katie Banister
  • Katie Gillies
  • Beatriz Goulao
  • Louise Locock
  • Gillian Nevin
  • Janet E. Clarkson
  • Craig R. Ramsay


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic forced a UK-wide closure of dental services. An understanding of public concerns about dental
care was urgently needed to inform careful resumption of paused dental services. Aim: To describe public concerns about dental care during lockdown. Basic research design: Framework analysis of relevant Twitter posts identified collected using the Awario tool. Results: Of
1863 tweets manually screened for eligibility, 285 were relevant, as they contained views expressed by the public. The number of tweets
by country were proportionate to the population size. The key views expressed in tweets focused on: ‘oral health impact’ (‘oral health
and self-care’, ‘types of dental problems’, ‘managing symptoms at home’, ‘views on consequences of delaying treatment’) and ‘dental
service or care provision’ (‘views on managing dental care response’, ‘experiences with access to dental care’). Conclusions: The impact of
COVID-19 on dental services raised many physical and mental health concerns for the public, highlighting their importance. Online profiles
and social media communication platforms can be used to provide convenient, and timely information on public perceptions of dental care.
Keywords: Qualitative research, oral health, dental care, social media

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