Oral health is often overlooked. It’s so easy to be conscious of a problem like neck pain or a bad back. But often, toothache is brushed off and people think dental problems will go away on their own, or will wait until later.
Research shows that one in 20 of us admit to never visiting the dentist1, and over half would cancel a dental appointment if they had financial worries1. It seems that in some cases, oral health is just not as valued as our overall health.
The harsh reality is that 1.2 million days of work are missed every year due to oral health issues2, costing the UK economy a staggering £105 million2. For businesses, this means employees could be taking time off for dental conditions that could have otherwise been picked up by regular dental check-ups. Even if dental concerns are not yet causing serious issues, if employees come in to work with dental pain, this can negatively impact their productivity.
Oral health should be firmly on any wellbeing agenda. Employers have a clear role to play in helping employees look after their oral health. The key to solving this problem lies in prevention; it is always better than cure.
A great starting point is to provide a preventative solution like a dental plan. Encouragingly, 91 per cent of employees who have access to a dental plan, visit a dentist at least every six months3. And employers can see the value too – 82 per cent who offer a dental plan agree that it enhances overall wellbeing4.
And it’s not just important to look after oral health for our teeth and gums’ sake. The mouth is a window to the body’s overall health. Gum disease, in particular, can be linked to stroke, diabetes and heart disease5. Dentists are also often the only health professionals who see people on a regular basis, so they can notice changes in mood, behaviour, or appearance over time, which may signal underlying health problems.
To find out more about the value of preventative dental care, download our latest report.
1 YouGov/Simplyhealth, 2018, Consumer Oral Health Survey 2018, total respondents: 5,264 UK adults (aged 18+)
3 YouGov/Simplyhealth, 2018, Consumer Oral Health Survey 2018, total respondents: 271 UK adults that have a monthly payment plan to pay for dental bills
4 Simplyhealth Corporate Decision Makers’ Survey 2017