Oral health issues costing UK economy £105m in sick days
Oral health issues are causing an increase in sick days as more people take time off work.
A recent poll, commissioned by The Oral Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month, discovered that around one in 20 working Brits have been forced to take time off work in the last year due to oral health issues.
It is estimated that more than 1.2 million days of work have been missed in the last year, with one day of absenteeism costing an average of £82.86 to the economy, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). As well as costing the UK economy more than £105 million each year, this is having a significant impact on the nation’s oral health.
The Oral Health Foundation is challenging workplaces across the UK to take more of an invested interest in their employees’ health, while asking the UK’s workforce to think about their oral health habits both at work and at home.
What can workplaces do?
Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, says:“Bad habits such as irregular brushing and sugary diets are contributing to around three in every ten UK adults suffering regular dental pain and tooth decay. It is therefore inevitable that significant numbers of people are taking sick days off work.”
One of the major problems we are continually faced with at work is an excess of sugar, and a snacking culture has become commonplace… Cake can be found daily in many offices across the country, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or simply a Friday afternoon! Unhealthy options of high sugar foods and drinks in vending machines and canteens are contributing to oral health problems – and have a wider impact on health overall, with increased levels of diabetes and obesity.
By increasing education about sugar and supplying employees with healthier alternatives, there is an excellent opportunity that would benefit both employers and employees. An unhealthy workplace – physically and mentally – normally equals time off work and lost productivity. Thousands of people miss work because of oral health issues. Frustratingly, these problems are often completely preventable.
Get into good oral health habits
As part of National Smile Month, Centre for Dentistry strongly encourages you to be increasingly proactive about your oral health at home and attend regular check-ups with your dentist and hygienist.
Maintaining a good oral health routine at home is quite simple and by getting the basics right we can avoid most oral health problems and the pain and discomfort that comes with them.
Your dental health is an important part of your overall wellbeing and it’s important to remember that poor oral health is not simply about toothache and decay. It has a much wider impact on general health than you may think. Research over the past decade has revealed growing evidence linking poor oral health to serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, problems during pregnancy and dementia.
National Smile Month gives these three basic steps to look after your oral health:
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
It doesn’t need to be a drastic change. It’s about the little changes to a lifestyle that make a real difference.
Talk to your dentist
Centre for Dentistry practices are open from 8am until 8pm during the working week and we also have Saturday appointments so you don’t have to take time off work to see a dentist.
Find your local CFD practice and talk to your dentist or hygienist for tips and advice about how to improve oral health. Alternatively, call our central Patient Care Team on 01225 418034 who will be happy to help.