National Smile Month: The Importance of Dental Health

It’s National Smile month and now more than ever, the dental landscape is facing an increasing amount of change. Between January and March 2021, some patients were being asked to wait up to three years for an appointment with a National Health dentist, or six weeks for an emergency appointment.[1]

Poor oral health means greater overall health risks. Research has shown that gum disease, if left untreated can lead to an increasing risk of heart disease, a stroke and even Alzheimer’s disease.[2]

Some National Health Dental surgeries have reported that they have “thousands” of people on their waiting lists, while patients are unable to access care after ringing round numerous dental surgeries. Delays are resulting in worsening and painful symptoms with patients overusing painkillers to get through the day.

Assistance with dental treatment provided by an employer as part of their benefits package is a widely appreciated benefit that employees will use every year, helping to support their health and wellbeing. Many dental plans constantly look to evolve and provide product enhancements to make sure that employees get a highly valued benefit.

With the cost-of-living crisis, private dental treatment can often be costly and subsequently people avoid going to the dentist due to affordability.

Even a basic check-up can set you back nearly £25, yet if avoided, more complex treatment becomes increasingly likely and at a higher expense, potentially creating a vicious circle.

Despite the fact we brush our teeth on autopilot twice a day, dental and oral hygiene is a massively important health issue and something that people really should not be putting off.

With everyone currently trying to cut costs, employee funded or self-funded insurance based dental plans and cash plans can be a great way to bridge the gap. There are a range of dental plans that can be designed around employee needs by providing various levels of cover.

The benefits of a dental insurance plan

For employers

  • Increased loyalty – Demonstrates your commitment to the health and wellbeing of your employees
  • Reduction in absenteeism – Providing a dental plan encourages employees to get regular check-ups or the treatment they need, reducing the likelihood of time off due to pain / illness caused by oral health issues
  •  Ideal for businesses of all sizes and budgets
  •  Highly valued benefit that can be either employer or employee funded

For employees

  • Save money on expensive treatments
  • Peace of mind for employees that they can access treatment when they need to, avoiding NHS waiting times
  • Provides cover for both routine and restorative treatments (fillings & extractions)
  • Many company dental plans do not need initial examinations to determine the cost

[1] Healthwatch England [2] British Heart Foundation


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