Employee Benefits

On World Oral Health Day, are you helping to bring a smile to the faces of your staff?

Did you know that 53% of the UK population suffers from fear or anxiety when visiting the dentist?[1]. Many people choose to avoid visiting the dentist unless it is an emergency, or they are in extreme pain. Others choose to try and self-treat tooth issues rather than overcoming their fear and putting themselves into the hands of a qualified professional.

Whether people assume that their problems will go away, think that there are no repercussions from oral health issues or otherwise; it really is important to keep an eye on those pearly whites and look after them as well as possible, in order to avoid issues, pain or even worse – tooth loss! Sunday 20th March 2022 marks World Oral Health Day , organised by the FDI World Dental Federation who, in 2021, launched their three-year campaign theme: Be Proud of Your Mouth.

Why is World Oral Health Day important?

Oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease can lead to pain and discomfort, often bad breath, and potentially further infections.  A smile is one of the first things people notice about us and dental issues can lead to a lack of self-confidence, causing people to suffer low self-esteem,  which can have a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. As well as this, oral problems can also lead to further, more serious health issues later down the line if they are left untreated. Therefore, it is important for individuals, schools, organisations and the general community to gain awareness surrounding the importance of good oral health and share this knowledge with those around them.

Many people are unaware of the knock-on effects that poor dental hygiene can have on their general health and wellbeing; both physically and mentally. The NHS has found that gum disease may increase your risk of other health complications, including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Gum disease has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia. [2]. The good news though, is that all these issues can be avoided by brushing teeth regularly, flossing, and taking routine trips to that scary dentist.

The covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works – much like it did with the NHS in general – with a backlog of people waiting to see their dentist, and many dentists resorting to emergency only appointments. This meant that it wasn’t only personal fear that was preventing people from sitting in that big blue chair, but also the lack of appointment availability and further fears around the virus itself. Of the 23% of respondents in a GDC survey who reported having experienced pain or other dental problems during the lockdown period, 51% preferred to wait for lockdown to end before seeking treatment or to wait for the issue to go away, as they felt it was not particularly urgent. Just 35% sought professional help while a minority of 14% decided to self-treat. [3]

Dental insurance is often overlooked as an employee benefit because let’s face it, it may appear unattractive and like an extravagance at first glance. However, employers are increasingly offering this benefit and finding it advantageous both in attracting new staff and retaining existing staff, as well as reducing workplace absence. Dental insurance is widely valued by employees of all ages and has a high utilisation rate. After all, everyone needs a dental checkup and the overall benefits of including a plan, can positively impact your business.

Debbie McLean, a Principal at Broadstone and a health and wellbeing specialist, has noted, “The NHS accessibility issues which can see waiting times of up to 3 years in some areas has increased the demand for preventative private treatment. There are established links between oral health and general health, and employers have a responsibility to educate and promote the benefits of regular dentistry to their workforce.”

The reality of implementing such programs can sometimes feel more difficult than they should. This is where Broadstone comes in – we have experienced health and wellbeing benefit consultants available to advise and help with designing and implementing health and wellbeing benefits for businesses of all sizes.

One of the key providers we work with to help employers and their employees is Bupa and they have provided some material that you may find useful: https://www.bupa.co.uk/business/news-and-information/world-oral-health-day-2022-business-toolkit

Or if you would prefer, contact us if you would like to find out more using the button below.

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Sources:

[1] https://www.dentalphobia.co.uk/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/health-risks-of-gum-disease/

[3] https://www.gdc-uk.org/standards-guidance/covid-19/the-impacts-of-covid-19/limited-access-to-dental-services

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