Poor Oral Health Costs UK Economy £36m Each Year

Did you know that your oral health is very closely linked to your overall health, and that problems in your mouth have the potential to affect the rest of your body? That’s why having good oral health, which helps to prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease, is actually more important than you might have previously realised.

By looking inside your mouth or taking a swab of saliva your doctor can learn a great deal about what’s going on inside your body.

Like many other parts of your body, your mouth is full of bacteria, the majority of which are totally harmless. However, it’s only by practising good oral hygiene and through the body’s natural defences that these bacteria are kept in check. Without proper oral hygiene, these bacteria can reach levels that could lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, over 90% of all systemic diseases, including AIDS and diabetes, produce oral signs and symptoms such as mouth lesions. That’s why people should make regular visits to the dentist and brush/floss their teeth every day.

But it seems that absences from work because of oral health problems are very much an issue in the UK.

A nationwide study of UK adults conducted by The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy found that dental absences cost the UK economy an estimated £36.6 million each year. It’s thought that some 415,000 people miss at least one day of work annually due to oral health issues.

Furthermore, one in five (20%) employees would be prepared to call in sick because of toothache.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has calculated that, on average, it costs £80.20 per person missing a day of work.

“A toothache can make it difficult for someone to eat, drink, sleep and even talk,” said Michaela ONeill, president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT).

“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.”

ONeill also said that the BSDHT is taking the opportunity to remind everyone that a good daily oral health routine can help them prevent the pain and unhappiness that comes with oral health problems.

She added that there are “many causes of toothache”, including infections, dental trauma and heightened sensitivity, but that the most common cause is tooth decay. Regular dentist visits can help put in place preventative treatments which can help people avoid developing toothache.

Denplan’s most recent Health and Wellbeing Benefits Survey found that 69% of employers agree that having a company dental plan in place helps them attract new employees. A further 73% said that it helps them retain their existing employees.

However, the Denplan survey also found that just 40% of UK companies have a dental plan in place, even though 77% of UK adults said they visit the dentist on a regular basis.

To find out more about corporate dental plans, contact us today.


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