Dental Tribune Europe

Excessive computer use can impact oral health, study finds

WARSAW, Poland: There has long been a debate around what constitutes excessive time spent on devices and the adverse health effects of this. In a new study from Poland, researchers have found that 3 hours or more of computer use by teenagers is enough to put their oral health at risk.

Through a questionnaire on socio-economic status and health‐related behaviour, the researchers collected data from 1,611 18‐year‐olds from Poland and then clinically assessed the condition of the participants’ teeth and gingivae. The results showed that those who spent more time on a computer were less likely to brush their teeth, floss and visit the dentist. The findings were particularly severe for boys who spent excessive time on a computer: they were 50% less likely to brush their teeth twice a day.

Speaking to Dental Tribune International, lead researcher Prof. Jacek Tomczyk, Director of the Institute of Ecology and Bioethics at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, said that the results of the study demonstrate a clear association between computer use and oral health. “Our study proved that the youth who often spend time in front of the computer have bad eating habits and poor oral hygiene behaviour, both of which influence their oral health.”

According to Tomczyk, education around oral health is a contributing factor. He believes that those who spend excessive time on a computer must be made aware that such behaviour can foster poor dietary and oral health habits. “Moreover, habits that develop during adolescence usually persist in adulthood,” he noted.

“We are not suggesting the banning of computers, but there must be more knowledge and awareness around the issue,” continued Tomczyk.

The study, titled “Excessive computer use as an oral health risk behaviour in 18‐year‐old youths from Poland: A cross‐sectional study”, was published online on 1 May 2019 in Clinical and Experimental Dental Research.

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