About 46% of American adults ages 30 and older have some form of gum disease, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 9% of adults have a severe form of the disease. Scheduling regular appointments for dental checkups and professional cleanings can help take care of oral health problems and identify signs of potential medical issues. So, people with dental insurance usually use this important benefit to stay healthy. Consider four reasons why employers should offer dental insurance benefits.
1. Reduces lost work hours
Employees’ poor health costs American businesses $575 billion and 1.5 billion days of lost productivity. Many workers take sick time to deal with oral pain and dental problems. When employees are not at work, businesses struggle with productivity and cannot meet customer expectations.
2. Control costs
Many people put off going to the dentist due to financial concerns. However, dental insurance can provide financial security for employees.
Dental insurance provides good value in terms of cost savings. The plan will cover the expense of an annual checkup and professional teeth cleaning. It also helps pay for fillings, crowns and root canals. Without dental insurance, employees will need to pay for dental procedures using their savings or a credit card.
Many companies provide employer-sponsored dental benefits, paying a portion of the premium cost. So, workers pay a low monthly fee. For employees not eligible for these benefits, employers can help them get access to an individual dental plan provided by a reputable insurance carrier. Employees can purchase an individual dental plan directly from an insurance carrier online.
With individual dental insurance, workers get coverage the same day they sign up. They can immediately use their plan for preventive care and covered basic procedures. However, there may be a waiting period for major procedures, such as crowns, bridges or root canals.
3. Keeps workers healthy
During an exam, dentists check for oral health issues and review patients’ overall health. Detecting health problems at an early stage can help control medical costs.
The mouth contains hundreds of harmful bacteria that can cause medical conditions. In addition, many systemic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, have oral health symptoms. Daily brushing and flossing, along with annual dental exams and professional cleanings, can help keep teeth healthy and prevent bacteria from damaging teeth and gums. It also protects your body from systemic disease by reducing the amount of harmful oral bacteria that enters your blood stream.
4. Protects children’s health
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that one in four children will have one or more cavities by age three. When children have oral pain, parents may take time off work to care for them.
Parents and caregivers should take time to teach children how to take care of their teeth. As soon as teeth erupt from the gums, gently wipe around them using clean, damp gauze. As more teeth emerge, help children brush their teeth twice a day. Use a toothbrush style that fits in their hand. For children under age 3, use a smear of children’s toothpaste with fluoride, about the size of a grain of rice. For children ages 3 to 6, use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Teach children to spit out the toothpaste vs. swallowing it.
When children’s teeth touch, it’s time to teach them how to floss their teeth. By age 10, children can usually floss their teeth on their own.
Parents and caregivers who have dental insurance for their families are more apt to use their plan. Scheduling regular children’s dental exams for a checkup and professional teeth cleaning helps reinforce good oral hygiene habits. Plus, the dentist will make sure children are brushing and flossing correctly. Ask the dentist to talk about nutritious foods that help keep teeth healthy, too.
Offer employees resources to help them teach their children good oral care habits, such as oral care tips and a video on proper brushing techniques.
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