Research shows that good dental health can keep the rest of our body healthy. A recent study found that professional dental care can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Other studies show that dental care may also contribute to better health in general, including better memory and reduced risk of infections. HR professionals should address preventive dental care with their employees in order to provide them with all the options for better health and wellness.
Preventive dental care
Dentists recommend that you go for a check-up at least twice a year. In between visits, individuals are reminded to follow the steps below for healthy oral care:
• Brush teeth twice a day
• Clean between teeth daily with floss
• Eat a balanced diet to promote good health
• Limit sugary foods, including soft drinks and snacks
• Replace toothbrush every three or four months to avoid frayed bristles that may not clean teeth properly
Individuals with history of dental problems or high risk of periodontal disease should follow any additional recommendations from their dentist.
Protection against infection and disease
Studies show that good dental care can protect individuals from a variety of infections and diseases. When a tooth or gum becomes infected, the infection enters the blood stream, traveling to other parts of the body. This can often lead to more serious infections and inflammations in other areas of the body.
Research shows that rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease causing inflammation of joints – for example, is often linked to gum disease. Cardiovascular problems, including heart disease, blood vessel blockages, and strokes have also been linked to chronic gum disease inflammation.
Good dental health can help improve other health conditions, as well. Memory and blood sugar in diabetes patients is more controlled in individuals with good dental health versus those with gum or tooth disease. The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry reports that individuals with gingivitis show lower memory recall in tests, like verbal recall and subtraction. Good oral health can also help expecting mothers reduce their risk of pre-term labor and delivery.
Dental health initiatives for your wellness program
Although dental health initiatives are less common in wellness programs, they would provide a great addition to a healthy lifestyle for your employees. Not only does preventive dental care improve overall health, but it also reduces costly restorative dental procedures, like crowns and root canals.
The initiatives below will help employers develop important dental health awareness in the workplace:
Educate employees on the importance of dental care – Communicate the importance of dental health to your employees through campaigns and annual health checks. Be sure to remind employees that good dental health reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature delivery.
Talk to your insurance provider – Many insurance providers may have special add-on discount plans that will help your employees get the care they need without the hefty prices.
Engage your employees in their dental care – Find out what services employees need the most. Work with your insurance provider to incorporate reasonable changes to encourage greater participation in dental care.
The bottom line
Good dental health not only improves confidence, but it can also improve overall health. Research shows that individuals with good dental health have reduced risk of infections and diseases, like heart disease and stroke. Incorporating dental initiatives that increase dental health awareness, and provide employees with the good dental benefits they want and deserve will provide them greater health and wellness in the long run.