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.
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. Jessica Buehler, Director of Dental Affairs for Delta Dental.
If you don’t offer a wellness program, create other incentives to promote dental health:
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 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. Buehler 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.
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.