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Worth of Mouth - The latest on business, wellness and more

Word of Mouth

The latest on business, wellness and more 

3 ways to promote dental hygiene to your employees

You’ve heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And it’s no less true for dental health. Most oral health conditions such as cavities and gum disease are preventable. And all it takes is developing a few simple habits such as brushing, flossing and seeing a dentist regularly.

Even though many adults have developed these habits, there’s still room for improvement. One in four adults in the U.S. still has untreated cavities, and nearly half show signs of gum disease, based on estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These problems take their toll. Americans lose 92 million hours of work because of unplanned dental visits. But this doesn’t have to happen to your employees.

This October, let’s look at what you can do for National Dental Hygiene Month to encourage your employees to keep their teeth and gums healthy and avoid those trips to the dentist.

Provide rewards for preventive habits

If your workplace has an employee wellness program, make sure it offers incentives for practicing good dental hygiene and going to the dentist. Publicize these incentives and encourage employees to participate.

Wellness programs get employees into dentist offices, and once they go at least twice, they’re likely to get professional cleanings and exams on a regular basis.

“All good dental health flows down from that initial visit,” said Dr. Daniel Croley, Chief Dental Officer.

If you don’t offer a wellness program, create other incentives to promote dental health:

  • Hold raffles in which employees can enter by showing proof of a recent dental visit.
  • Give employees gift cards for a no-cavity visit.
  • Ask local dentist’s offices to sponsor dental health fairs at the office, or have them hand out brushes and floss to employees. If they’re in-network, this partnership could be a good opportunity for them to gain new patients.
  • Raffle off electric toothbrushes and flossers as part of your incentive program.

Help your employees get the right tools

Delta Dental’s own BrushSmart™ program gives Delta Dental members access to discounts on popular oral care products and services such as Philips Sonicare, Oral‑B and quip toothbrushes. This free oral wellness program is designed to help your employees improve their oral care at home. All Delta Dental members are eligible to join.

Encourage employees to sign up for the BrushSmart program. You can send employees a  promotional flyer that gives general information about the program.

Go electric with teeth cleaning

Encourage your employees to opt for an electric toothbrush. Battery-powered electric toothbrushes like the ones in BrushSmart have decreased in price, and the vibrating motion of the bristles means the toothbrush does most of the work for you. And electric toothbrushes do a better job of cleaning than manual toothbrushes.

“Electric toothbrushes can make such a big difference, but it’s important to know how to use them correctly,” Dr. Croley said.

Brushing techniques may differ depending on which electric toothbrush a person uses. You can help employees learn how to brush correctly by sharing these videos:

For people who don’t like to floss, water flossers and individual hand-held flossers work just as well at getting out plaque from between teeth.

Make the most of Dental Hygiene Month

You can use National Dental Hygiene Month to stress the importance of good dental health. Send out information about ways to prevent cavities and gum disease with resources from Delta Dental. You can share emails, posters and flyers related to oral health and wellness:

With a little bit of attention and rewards, you can promote healthier habits and make sure employees can keep flashing those smiles.