Here's what we know about how dental health relates to chronic illness and how you can help fight back by encouraging good dental hygiene habits:
Your mouth contains a number of different bacteria. In a healthy mouth, the bad bacteria are managed and the good bacteria are allowed to grow and strengthen your oral health. In someone with poor dental hygiene, the bad bacteria can grow out of control and spread throughout the body — including into the heart. It's estimated that those with poor dental hygiene could be more likely to develop heart disease, along with a host of other health issues. Given that heart disease is the number one killer in America today, this is a particularly concerning connection.
It's been theorized that loss of teeth and periodontal (near the gums) bone loss could be related to developing osteoporosis. This debilitating illness causes bones to become weak and brittle, increasing the chances of a fracture occurring and making it difficult to live your life normally. Although this is only a theoretical connection at this point, losing teeth or bone mass in the jaw is debilitating enough by itself.
The link between diabetes and oral hygiene is actually relatively simple. Gum disease is an infection, infections raise blood sugar, and high blood sugar increases your risk of developing diabetes. Not only that, but diabetes can also lead to even worse dental health. This feedback loop can be devastating to an individuals health, and with how expensive health care is these days, it can devastate their finances as well.
Encouraging Good Oral Health Habits
Oral health is important for a number of reasons, but there's only so much you can do as an employer. Let's be real, no employee wants you to know every little detail about their dental hygiene. One way of encouraging oral health without invading your employee's personal space is by providing information on the link between dental hygiene and chronic illness. For some employees, this is enough to spur them into action.
Still, for many employees, this kind of information goes in one ear and out the other unless it's delivered by a trusted professional. The only tried and true method of encouraging these good habits is by providing dental coverage for your employees. A trip to the dentist — something many consider prohibitively expensive without insurance — will ensure that employees get the information and care they need to maintain good oral health. Employees appreciate a robust benefits package and your business benefits by having healthier, happier employees.
Summerlin-Roberts are experts in healthcare cost containment. We work with you to find creative ways to bring quality care to employees without breaking your budget. For more information about providing affordable dental coverage that is also satisfying for employees, please, contact us today.