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Healthy teeth, healthy finances: Making the case for oral health

By Excellus BlueCross BlueShield


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   With salary, medical insurance, and retirement plans taking top billing in compensation packages, dental coverage can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. But there are a number of reasons why improving the oral health of your employees can have a huge impact on your company’s well-being.

1) Morale
   A 2018 survey from the American Dental Association (ADA) showed that 85 percent of Americans believe the health of their mouth is very or extremely important to their overall health1, but only 42 percent visit the dentist as often as they’d like.
   Dental care has the highest level of cost barriers compared to other services, and for every person without medical insurance, almost two don’t have dental coverage2, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
   This gap between what employees want for themselves and what they think they can afford can be a serious stressor — one that the right dental coverage can often eliminate.

2) Productivity
   Over 164 million work hours are lost every year due to dental disease2, according to the HHS Office of the Surgeon General report “Oral Health in America.” Without dental coverage, employees may delay visiting the dentist, which means small oral health issues can become the kind of problems that keep people out of work altogether. Maybe that’s why $1.9 billion is spent on emergency room visits for dental conditions each year3, according to the Washington Post. With coverage, employees are more likely to get dental care before problems arise, especially if that coverage incentivizes regular preventive checkups.

3) General health
   While businesses often keep dental and medical coverage separate, our bodies draw no distinction between oral health and overall health. In fact, if left untreated, gum disease can lead to more serious conditions like heart disease4 (according to a large dental school study in the Netherlands) that will have a much larger negative impact on your people and your company than the occasional toothache.

Next step
   So if you’re fortunate enough to be offering dental coverage, take the next step and make sure everyone is using it. If not, then finding affordable coverage can keep your employees and your balance sheet healthier than ever.
   You’ll find even more reasons why dental health is no small thing for your business when you download a free, fact-packed infographic from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. It can start you on the path to integrating your medical and dental benefits, so your costs stay in check and your employees keep flashing those pearly whites.

Photos provided by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

1 ADA News, “Survey: More Americans want to visit the dentist.” 2018
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS]. “Oral Health in America.”
3 The Washington Post, “A dental visit can cost you, but a delay can hurt your teeth and budget even more.”
4 Beukers, Nicky, van der Heijden , Geert, et al. Periodontitis is an independent risk indicator for atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases among 60,174 participants in a large dental school in the Netherlands. J Epidemiol Community Health, 2017.