The Hidden Impact of Dental Care on Business and Education

Anyone in business or school is familiar with “sick days.” The loss of a work or school day isn't always under your control, but if you don't take care of your body, you're more like to get sick and require some time off. What many people don't consider is that dental problems can have the same negative effect on our work and educational lives.

Dental problems affecting the bottom line

The loss of productive time due to poor oral health is a major concern for businesses all over the country. Every year, millions of productive hours will be lost as employees take time off work to tend to dental problems which has a direct effect on a company’s profitability. A report found that dental disease and visits to the dentist is costing American businesses 164 million hours each year.

Dental problems don’t just affect the nation’s livelihood as a whole, but the individuals that makes up part of that statistic will be suffering pain and discomfort that is directly affecting their work. What’s worse, the report found that there is a general lack of awareness towards oral health and the importance of having a dental plan. For every adult with medical insurance, there are three without dental insurance.

Frequent tooth fairy visits disrupting the classroom

It’s not just our work force that suffers, either. Our children are missing valuable learning time as they tend to issues with their teeth. In 2008, a study was undertaken to ascertain whether there was a relationship between poor dental health and educational performance.

The study found that dental problems and performance in the classroom are not only linked, but have a direct correlation: children identified as having poor oral health were 3 times more likely to skip school due to the pain. The report also found that absences related to pain resulted in reduced school performance whereas absences for routine check-ups did not.

Another report released in 2012, contained within the American Journal of Public Health, analyzed 1500 underprivileged children in the Los Angeles education district. It was found that that oral health was a significant factor in determining academic performance and attendance at school.

As many as 73% of the students coming from low socioeconomic areas had cavities, and children who reported having toothache recently were 4 times as likely to have lower grade point averages. Other shocking statistics to come out of the report: elementary kids missed school an average of 6 days due to poor dental health and high school kids missed an average of 2.6 days.

The conclusion of both reports reinforces our expectations: Children suffering from oral health issues are more likely to miss school, struggle with concentration and perform poorer overall when compared to their healthier classmates.

Conclusion

Having a dental plan in place is an effective way to ensure you can cope with any large, unforeseen dental emergencies that arise. Additionally, cost savings on check-ups and regular maintenance will help you maintain a healthier mouth and miss less school and/or work.

The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” holds true. The simplest and most cost effective way to maintain both your own and your family's oral health is by having an effective dental plan in place.

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