Let’s face it, very few of us welcome a visit to the dentist. Yet good oral health, and regular check-ups are vitally important to maintaining our overall wellbeing.
By delaying or avoiding those important check-ups, the risk is that we simply store up more significant problems for the future, be that gum disease, tooth decay, or dangerous complications such as cancers of the mouth.
These cancers are on the rise, with cases of mouth cancer up by a third in the past 20 years. Regular check-ups mean these potential problems can be spotted early, reducing the need for remedial treatments which could cause employees to need more significant time off.
Research by Bupa Dental Insurance shows just how important this can be to both employer and employees alike.
More than 48% of those surveyed say they’ve had to leave work early or call in sick due to dental pain.
That’s an estimated 1,330 working days lost each year amongst the 2000 employees we surveyed.
Others suffer in silence but recognise that by doing so their work and their workplace relationships suffer as a result. Almost a third – 29%– say they can’t concentrate on their job, with 25% feeling less productive, and 14% say they snap at colleagues due to the discomfort they are feeling.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Dental insurance – the benefit that delivers
By providing access to regular dental check-ups you straight away lift the worry and stress that goes with concerns over oral health. Our survey shows that 73% of employees have delayed going to the dentist.
That’s far too many of employees putting off seeking treatment: treatment which we know could easily prevent other major health issues. There are significant links between good oral health and good general health, from heart disease and strokes, to Alzheimers.
So shouldn’t dental insurance play a major role in a wellbeing strategy? Yes it should; however, our research shows that just 20% of employees say their organisation offers dental insurance.
Yet the rewards of any oral health programme go beyond just cutting the number of productive days lost to sickness absence each year.
The Bupa Wellbeing Index found that 68% of employees are highly motivated by the benefit of dental insurance.
That’s well above any other health and wellbeing benefit.
So not only does it make sound business sense, but it’s a welcome benefit that attracts new employees and plays a part in helping you to retain your existing talent.
We also found that one in four people believe that their dental health has suffered post-Covid.
So it’s more vital than ever to provide access to both preventative treatment and oral health education, and to make access to those things both easy to understand and to use. The need is there.
The good news is that the answers – and support you as an employer need – is available, and available right now.
At Bupa we are continually evolving our dental insurance products to support you build a healthier and more productive workforce.
This year, we’ve increased the benefits for routine examination and scale and polish so customers can claim more cashback towards their preventative dental treatment.
We also now include access to oral cancer care from the start of the policy having removed the wait period – we’re the only UK insurer to offer unlimited cancer treatment if it’s needed.
Nobody relishes a visit to dentist, but there is really little to fear.
Particularly when you recognise that those all-important check-ups provide a welcome benefit, and ensure that your well-being programme truly supports everything your employees need to stay fit and healthy now and into the future.
That’s got to be something well worth smiling about.
Ann Stewart is head of Bupa dental insurance
To find out just how Bupa’s dental insurance can give a boost to your employee wellbeing programme click here to find out more.