Toothache is costing the UK economy more than £105m each year in sick days, research has suggested. Dental health can also be a major issue for employees travelling abroad, whether for work or on holiday, and another reason why it can pay to offer dental care as an employee benefit.
Employee health and wellbeing – counting the cost of toothache, both at home and abroad
The charity the Oral Health Foundation has urged workplaces and employees to prioritise their oral health, and published research suggesting that toothache is costing the UK economy a jaw-clenching £105m each year in sick days.
The poll was commissioned as part of the foundation’s National Smile Month in May, and argued that around one person in 20 had been forced to take time off work in the last year because of oral health problems.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the foundation, said: “Bad habits such as irregular brushing and sugary diets are contributing to around three in every ten UK adults suffering regular dental pain and tooth decay. It is therefore inevitable that significant numbers of people are taking sick days off work and damaging the productivity of the UK economy.”
Dr Carter, of course, might also have mentioned that one of the barriers to good dental health in the UK is the perceived cost of access, including lack of access to NHS dentistry.
This can mean regular check-ups being ignored or put off, and therefore greater chance of someone needing to take time off work because a more serious, and undoubtedly painful, dental issue has occurred.
One solution here, of course, is to offer access to a dental plan, often bundled together with an eyecare plan.
This can help to remove some of the perceived cost barrier as well as mean employers are more likely to remember (or be reminded, at any rate) when check-ups are due.
Offering a dental plan can also pay a dividend in an area you may not have thought of: international travel.
As anyone who has had the misfortune to suffer from toothache while abroad, whether for business or pleasure, will undoubtedly be able to vouch, finding and accessing a dentist while overseas can often be an expensive and painful challenge. The NHS, incidentally, offers useful advice here.
By offering a dental plan, you can ensure employees have regular their check-ups and maintain their dental health and hygiene, especially before any trips overseas. This, of course, isn’t going to insure against an unforeseen dental emergency – breaking a tooth and exposing a nerve for example.
But it will go some way towards ensuring that more routine dental problems can be identified and treated before they flare up when your employee is hundreds or thousands of miles away in a strange and potentially unforgiving environment.
If nothing else read this
- Toothache is costing the UK economy more than £105m each year in sick days
- One person in 20 had been forced to take time off work in the last year because of oral health problems
- Offering a dental plan can be one solution, both for employees at home but also to keep expensive and painful toothache at bay for those travelling overseas
Posted in News,Occupational health by OH Assist on the 17th July 2017