Are you protecting your employees from the effects of the “silent pandemic”?
More than 24 million Americans (about 7% of the population) have some form of autoimmune condition, and the prevalence is rising, according to the National Institutes of Health. Although you may not be aware, chances are some of your employees have, or are caring for someone who has, an autoimmune condition. It’s what some health researchers have labeled the “silent pandemic.”
For Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month this March, learn more about these conditions and what you can do to protect your employees’ oral and overall health.
The immune system normally helps the body stay healthy by fighting off invading microorganisms. But sometimes, the immune system starts attacking healthy cells and tissues. An autoimmune condition arises from this abnormal response to an otherwise healthy body part. Most autoimmune conditions cause inflammation, which produces redness, heat, pain and swelling.
There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions. Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the body part or parts affected. Some autoimmune conditions involve only one type of tissue; others involve many different parts of the body. For example, vasculitis primarily affects the blood vessels. Lupus, on the other hand, can damage the skin, heart, lungs and more.
Your employees with autoimmune conditions may be more susceptible to a number of oral health conditions, including:
It’s especially important for your employees with autoimmune conditions to maintain their oral health through strong at-home routines and regular dental visits for cleanings and exams.
In fact, the dentist becomes a crucial member of the medical care team for those living with autoimmune conditions. The dentist helps your affected employees stay up to date with:
To help protect your employees’ health, Delta Dental offers SmileWay Wellness Benefits (known as SmileWay Enhanced Benefits in Texas), which includes expanded dental coverage for members with any of 14 chronic medical conditions, including several of the most common autoimmune conditions.
Covered members and their dependents who have been diagnosed with any of these conditions qualify for additional teeth and gum cleanings, which can help them maintain their oral and overall health:
SmileWay Wellness Benefits are available for you to add on to all PPO large group plans. Talk to your Delta Dental representative to learn how your group can benefit.
Observe Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month this March by helping to raise awareness about these conditions:
Use the month of March to reach out to your employees and remind them that their oral health is a crucial component of their overall wellness.