Incorporating Dental Health Into a Wellness Program

This is a follow-up to “Reining in Runaway Healthcare Costs… a Dental Consumer Advocacy Approach,” and provides ideas that should be incorporated into your existing Wellness Program.

EDUCATION: People of ancient times believed that the stabbing pain of a toothache was caused by a toothworm. A folk cure was smearing honey on the infected tooth and waiting at night with tweezers to pluck out the toothworm…Times and cures have changed however the need for education is important if we are attempting to reduce our healthcare costs. The education needed in your Wellness Program should include both Prevention and Repair

Prevention of dental disease, decay or tooth loss begins with an employee’s desire to start a routine of brushing regularly, flossing and routine exams. Our employees often need to be reminded that having Periodontitus means they are twice as likely to suffer a fatal heart disease than people without. What is the primary prevention tool for Periodontitus- regular brushing and flossing our teeth.

Repair falls into either work needed to be performed by a dentist or simply working with the dental hygienist. The hygienist plays the most critical role of all in the prevention of dental disease. Regular cleanings promote healthy gums and prevents bone loss and decay. Hygienist check-ups also detect Oral Cancer-6th most common cancer with 40,000 new cases annually-9000 deaths.

Another issue that needs to be addressed in a wellness program is “Dental Fear”- the ADA study showed that over 50% of those studied have a fear of going to the dentist. We need to educate our employees that this dental phobia costs money for both the employee and employer-affects there social life and self-esteem. Why? Dental disease causes unsightly tooth loss, ruins your smile and is the leading cause of bad breath. In a majority of cases, a visit to your hygienist regularly eliminates the perceived costly and painful visits to the “dentist.”

Dental Disease is not only a disease of the mouth, but also a disease of the body. Not only does it drain your energy, it ends up dramatically lowering your body’s resistance to any other disease to which your employee may be exposed. When you look at dental disease in this way, you can no longer afford to not provide your employees with benefit protection and education to lower the cost of Healthcare for your organization.

Comments are closed.