Dental and Oral

Oral health problems that cause employees to miss work cost the UK economy some £36.6m each year, a study has suggested. Teeth and dental problems when travelling abroad for work can be a bit of a nightmare too.

Employee health and wellbeing – the value of dental plans, especially when travelling abroad

Employees who miss work because of oral health problems costs the UK economy an estimated £36.6 million each year, according to research by the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

The statistic was published to coincide with National Toothache Day on 9 February and the society calculated that an estimated 415,000 people miss at least a day of work each year because of oral health problems, while one in five said they would be prepared to call in sick because of a toothache.

Society president Michaela ONeill said: “National Toothache Day is certainly not anything to smile about as toothache usually makes those who suffer from it very miserable. A toothache can make it difficult for someone to eat, drink, sleep and even talk.

“To have so many people being forced to miss work and costing the economy a staggering amount due to toothache and other oral health problems is a real eye opener, especially when many of the causes are entirely preventable.”

Dental plan

One way around this, especially one way to overcome the issue of cost being a barrier to treatment, even when going to an NHS dentist, is to offer a dental plan, often as part of a health cash plan and commonly bundled together with an optical plan.

A dental plan can also be valuable in another context: access to dentistry for employees who are travelling, either just domestically or abroad.

Going down with toothache when you’re in a foreign country can be a bit of a nightmare all round but if an employee knows they have a plan that gives them fast-track access to a reputable dentist wherever they are, that can be a real comfort, and perceived as a valuable benefit.

Moreover, as Mhari Coxon, dental hygienist and trustee of the oral health charity the British Dental Health Foundation, has outlined, it’s not just the pain (physical as well as financial) of tooth problems that can be the issue.

“Through maintaining regular good oral health practices we can all help to avoid the agony of toothache,” she said.

“But this is not the only risk, oral health problems are linked to serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes,” she added.

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Posted in Occupational health by OH Assist on the 28th April 2016

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