Oral health is crucial in everyone’s life. Sadly not many employers see it that way. Many companies tend to overlook their employees’ oral health in favor of overall physical health. Much like mental health, it seems that oral health is something that many employers take for granted.
A staggering amount of Americans have experienced cavities in their lifetime, and a decent chunk of this given population has also experienced something worse, like tooth decay. Many claim it to be as painful as a broken bone, leading to many days absent in their respective workplace. So naturally, as an employer, you wouldn’t want this in your company.
Absenteeism and Tardiness
Absenteeism and tardiness cost US companies about $225 billion yearly. However, experts believe that this is an unavoidable amount of companies are only willing to shoulder the main reasons for both of them.
Worker illness is the leading reason why employees are absent or late going to work—the number of employees who are absent or late has doubled recently because of the pandemic. Furthermore, protocols also suggest that employees who can still perform but have minor symptoms work at home or quarantine themselves.
Many employers attribute absenteeism is due to poor physical health. However, a decent chunk of employees who choose to be absent suffer from serious oral health problems. Studies have found that employees who experience pain in their oral and facial cavities are pretty likely to be absent from work as much as other physical illnesses.
Oral Health and Employee Performance
From what we’ve stated above, it’s already apparent that oral health affects overall employee performance. Unfortunately, many workers go to their jobs despite feeling tremendous oral pain due to poor oral health.
Oral pain seems to be a minor inconvenience for many workers, experts have found. Some of them are likely to go to their jobs despite feeling such pain, and most are likely to shrug it off until it gets worse. In some situations, employees with oral pain continue going to work and stop only once they experience fever and other physical symptoms. At this point, the employee would spend more days being absent.
Furthermore, employees who experience oral pain perform less well than those who don’t have it. This depends on the kind of work assigned to them, but those in charge of physical aspects at work are less likely to perform better if they are experiencing oral pain.
The general state of the employee is also affected if they have poor oral health. For example, poor oral health has been known to cause physical problems such as fever. But it’s also known that people who have poor oral health also experience mental health issues such as low self-esteem, and in extreme situations, depression.
A person with poor oral health might lose a couple of frontal teeth or maybe have bad breath. Both of which make it hard for them to communicate appropriately in public. This can lead to fewer friends at work and overall isolation. Moreover, they are also less likely to get promoted because of their lack of initiative.
It seems that oral health is part of many problems at work. So how can your company handle it?
The very first step you should take is to give dental benefits to your employees. Only a tiny percentage of companies in the US are providing dental benefits to employees. On average, employees should visit their local dental office at least once a year to avoid poor oral health. Sadly, not many companies are giving their employees this chance.
Furthermore, not many businesses shoulder the cost of dental health, leading to many employees paying out of their pocket. This is problematic, especially for workers who are in the low-socioeconomic bracket. You should always look for insurance companies that offer dental health benefits in their health insurance policies. This will make dental examinations more affordable for your employees.
Free Dental Exams
You should also coordinate with local dentists to set free dental exams in your workplace. This will help increase oral health awareness among your employees. If you combine this with dental benefits, your workers are less likely to experience poor oral health in the future. This means less employee absenteeism and tardiness.
As employers, we tend to shrug oral health as an essential factor in employee and office performance. But oral health plays a bigger role than we think. This is why we need to give our employees dental benefits. This can reduce overall employee tardiness and absenteeism and increase overall performance in the office.