More than a Toothache: Why Employee Dental Health Matters

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Imagine this: one day while you’re at work, you start to feel a dull pain in one of your teeth. You dismiss it as not a big deal and go about your day. But as the days and weeks pass, the pain only gets more intense. You put off going to see a dentist at first, because the cost can be prohibitive. You think that the worst that can happen is a little tooth pain, maybe a cavity that you’ll need to get taken care of eventually. But you don’t consider that dental care can actually have an impact on your overall health and quality of life.

This situation has happened many times in the past. And it doesn’t just result in the need for a filling or even a root canal. In fact, research over the last several years indicates that there’s a correlation between dental health and overall health.

That’s one of the reasons why proper dental care is so important. And for business owners, providing employee dental health care isn’t just a bonus that can make your benefits package look more attractive to employees. It can actually have a huge impact on employees’ overall health, quality of life and even their productivity at work.

The Value of Employee Dental Health Benefits Insurance

According to the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), people without employee dental health benefits insurance reported higher incidences of a variety of other illnesses. For example, periodontal disease has been shown to make other health conditions like diabetes worse.

In addition, people who have access to dental coverage are more likely to practice good preventive care, which can help keep them healthier overall. Take a look at a shocking correlation – those without employee dental benefits were:

  • 67 percent more likely to have heart disease.
  • 50 percent more likely to have osteoporosis.
  • 29 percent more likely to have diabetes.

So if you decide against offering employee dental benefits insurance, you’re not only decreasing your team’s odds of having good dental health, but also their chances of having good physical health overall.

And that doesn’t just mean negatives for your employees, but also for your business.

Think about it. If a lack of coverage causes your employees to experience health issues, it could lead to them missing a significant amount of work over time. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental problems alone.

Even if your employees aren’t actually missing work, just experiencing those dental and physical health issues can impact their satisfaction and productivity when they’re actually at work. About 30 percent of small business employees said that their productivity at work has suffered because they had to delay medical or dental care due to the cost, according to MetLife’s 14th Annual Employee Benefit Trends Study.

Since dental health can have a significant impact on overall health, it’s likely that a lack of dental coverage can actually lead to even more missed work. Given that, it’s in your company’s best interests to invest in keeping your employees healthy so that they can be most productive.

If your employees don’t have dental health coverage to pay for the care that they need, it can make them stressed and distracted so that they aren’t fully focused on the tasks they need to accomplish. In addition, they’re likely to be unhappy with their lack of dental coverage if it leads to a situation where they’re unable to get the care they need. And that could cause them to either lose motivation so they don’t work to their full potential or just decide to seek employment elsewhere.

If a lack of employee dental health benefits insurance causes your employees to leave for companies that offer better benefits – that means you have to spend more on hiring and also training new employees.

Overall, cutting corners when it comes to employee benefits, especially employee dental benefits insurance, can lead to a variety of increased costs or missed potential down the line. It might seem like you’re saving money by skipping that part of your employee benefits plan, but if you add up the missed work, productivity issues and increased turnover, you’ll likely find that those costs can be much greater over time.

Offering Non-Medical Employee Benefits

Instead of accepting that fate, you can create a better work environment for your employees and better the chances of your business succeeding by offering non-medical employee benefits that include dental insurance. Doing so can have a positive impact on your employees’ overall health. But it can also give your small business a better chance at succeeding.

The investment in non-medical employee benefits that include dental insurance is really an investment in your team and your business. If your employees are healthy and happy, they can spend more time working and actually focused on improving your business, instead of missing work for appointments with their dentist.
Additionally, when they’re actually at work, they can be more focused on their tasks instead of being stressed or distracted by their dental health issues and all of the costs associated with them.

All of those benefits to your business also lead to benefits for your employees. Of course, your employees are more likely to experience better quality of life and overall satisfaction if they are generally healthy. And dental health can be a big part of that. So if your team has dental coverage included in their benefits, they’re more likely to be healthy, happy at work and satisfied with their compensation.

Happy employees tend to be more productive at work – and also tend to spend a longer length of time employed with a company.

If you can offer employee dental coverage, you can help them avoid those situations where they might experience health issues because of delayed care. And in doing so, you can create a happier and more productive team that’s more likely to get stuff done, stick around and experience much greater overall health.

Pain Image via Shutterstock

This article, “More than a Toothache: Why Employee Dental Health Matters” was first published on Small Business Trends

from Brent Lecompte Blog


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