Your people are your greatest resource. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that they have every opportunity to maintain and improve their personal health and wellness. It just makes good business sense.
Employees who are ill or feeling under the weather often call in sick. When they do go to work, they are far less productive. According to the CDC Foundation, productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost U.S. employers $225.8 billion a year. That works out to an average of $1,685 per employee per year.
Surprisingly, when most employers think about creating health and wellness programs for their people, they forget a very important ingredient: oral health. This is a mistake. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a quarter of Americans age 20-64 have untreated tooth decay, and almost 19 percent of Americans age 65 and older have lost all of their teeth.
The loss in productivity to organizations resulting from employees who have untreated dental problems is tremendous. The good news is there are a few simple things anyone can do to improve their oral health—and their smiles. Take time to promote these practices with your employees—the return on your investment will pay for itself many times over.
1. Regularly replace toothbrushes
Unfortunately, all good things—even a toothbrush—must come to an end. As time goes by, a toothbrush’s bristles will deteriorate, and so will their cleaning capabilities. Counsel your employees to buy a new toothbrush every three months—or as soon as it starts to look worn out—to make sure it’s getting the job done.
2. Practice smart eating
No matter how young or old you are, a healthy set of teeth and gums requires a healthy diet. A diet that is well-balanced (containing nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy) will give you healthy nutrients and won’t damage what’s inside your mouth. Encourage your employees to eat healthy foods that promote their dental health.
3. Don’t forget about sealants
Sealants can help prevent decay in the pits and fissures of your employees’ teeth. These thin, protective coatings are applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars and can help guarantee that their smiles will be here to stay for a long time to come.
4. Brush two times a day and floss once
We grow up knowing about the importance of brushing and flossing, but some people have a hard time keeping up a regular schedule. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day, along with flossing between teeth once a day.
5. Look for the ADA Seal
Some toothbrushes are better than others. To ensure your employees get a quality brush, suggest that they look for toothbrushes and other dental products that carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This seal demonstrates that the dental product has met strict industry guidelines, which ensures a thorough and quality brushing.
- CDC Foundation, Business Pulse, Accessed March 2018. https://www.cdcfoundation.org/businesspulse/healthy-workforce-infographic
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dental Caries and Tooth Loss in Adults in the United States, 2011-2012. May 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db197.htm
- American Dental Association, Mouth Healthy, Brushing Your Teeth, Accessed March 23, 2018. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth