Oral health problems, such as toothache, cost the UK economy more than £105 million each year in sick days, new research shows.
According to the survey from the Oral Health Foundation, one in 20 working people in the UK were forced to take time off work in the last year because of oral health problems.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says that one day of absenteeism costs an average of £82.86 to the economy and the Oral Health Foundation estimates that UK employees have missed more than 1.2 million days of work in the last 12 months.
Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said that bad habits, such as irregular brushing, and diets high in sugar are contributing to around three in every 10 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,” he said.
Carter blamed unhealthy vending machines and the workplace “cake culture” that’s prevalent in offices and other places of work throughout the UK today for contributing to oral and other health problems, such as diabetes and obesity.
“An unhealthy workplace – physically and mentally – normally equals time off work and lost productivity. Thousands of people miss work because of their oral health. Frustratingly, these problems are often completely preventable,” he said.
National Smile Month
The Oral Health Foundation survey was commissioned as part of National Smile Month, an initiative by the charity that runs from May 15 to June 15 which is designed to encourage and promote good oral health. It’s hoped the campaign will raise awareness about the importance of good oral health and challenge workplaces across the country to take more of an interest in the health of their employees. In addition, the charity wants the UK’s workforce to think more about their oral health habits both at work and at home.
During National Smile Month, the charity is trying to get more people to realise that maintaining a good oral health routine is actually quite simple. Furthermore, just by getting the basics right people can avoid most common oral health problems and the pain and discomfort that comes with them.
However, oral health problems do not just affect people’s mouths. In recent years, poor oral health has been proven to be very closely linked to such conditions as heart disease, diabetes, problems during pregnancy and dementia.
Recent research conducted by a leading dental plan provider showed that 64% of employees would join a dental plan scheme if their employer offered one. As oral health problems have been proven to be closely linked to other medical conditions, the importance of good oral hygiene has never been greater. So, if an employer can help their members of staff be pro-active in this area by putting access to a dental plan in place, the positive effects will be felt by all. PCG offer an independent analysis of the dental plan market.
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