Employee wellbeing – don’t forget about dental health

Employers need to be giving greater priority to oral health within their health and wellbeing strategies, the British Dental Health Foundation has argued, calculating that UK businesses potentially lose millions of pounds each year as a result of employees taking time off for dental health problems.

A poll by the foundation has estimated that more than 415,000 employees took time off work last year because of dental problems, with more than 1.1 million admitting to taking time off work to look after a child suffering with their oral health.

The cost to UK plc as a result was a whopping £36.6m, it calculated.

Health promotion ‘gap’Occupational-Health-dental-health-woman-toothbrush

What’s more, the foundation has said fewer than one in ten workers say they receive information from their employers about the importance of maintaining good oral health, evidence of a health promotion and education “gap” in this context.

Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter has urged businesses to place as much of an importance on the dental wellbeing of their employees as they do on their general health.

“The figures from this study highlight the significant number of people who are forced to miss work each year unnecessarily due to largely avoidable and preventable oral health problems. What many employers won’t realise is that poor oral health is increasingly being linked to other more serious medical conditions such as diabetes, strokes and heart problems,” he says.

“By introducing dental health into occupational health policies, employers can not only increase the productivity and performance of their workers, but it can vitally help to reduce absence related costs too,” he adds.Occupational-Health-dental-health-woman-smile

Small businesses

In a separate, yet timely, development, healthcare provider Bupa has launched a new dental health plan specifically targeting the hard-to-reach small business sector.

The Bupa Dental Health Plan www.bupa.co.uk is being offered to SME, corporate and individual customers, and provides cover for treatment at a Bupa dental centre.

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Posted in Occupational health by OH Assist on the 17th July 2013

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