What is sickness really costing? – Howard ThomasFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 27th February 2018
It was reported recently that common oral health problems are costing the economy more than £105 million each year in sick days, with around one in 20 UK employees thought to have taken time off in the last year alone.[i]
The growing sugar consumption is one such problem that continues to plague the profession. Indeed, despite widespread efforts from the government, avid campaigning from a number of high profile dental bodies and attempts from global food companies to reduce sugar content in popular food products, intake remains well above the recommended sugar allowance. It doesn’t help that every which way we turn there’s some sort of sweet treat there waiting to tempt us, from cakes and biscuits being passed under our noses in the workplace to chocolate and fizzy drinks on display in our local supermarket. Even those with high self-control are likely to crack from the pressure of temptation.
The same goes for alcohol. Despite a notable decline in consumption, there is still a booze culture in the UK that threatens to reverse all the hard work that has been going on behind the scenes. Dental caries and periodontal disease are two of the main culprits for toothache and oral discomfort, and it’s no coincidence that excessive drinking has been linked to both these conditions. Throw in the effects of tobacco on oral health (the prevalence of smoking in adults aged 18 and above is 15.5 per cent)[ii] and it’s almost no wonder that employees are taking time off to deal with or rectify oral illness.
Of course attendance remains one of the largest issues, with data suggesting that just 61 per cent of adults go for a check up on a regular basis and more than a quarter of adults only visit their dentist when they have a problem.[iii] Accessibility has had a lot to do with this, as has affordability.
So what can be done to help? As well as encouraging regular dental checks, raising awareness and urging patients to adopt a thorough oral hygiene routine will be essential moving forward. You’ll also need to recommend products that are affordable yet effective, such as Curaprox CS toothbrushes and CPS interdental brushes, informing patients of the benefits that using specially designed adjuncts can have on their oral health.
The needless pain of patients that are resorting to going off sick simply cannot be allowed to continue any longer, and with your ongoing support and hard work the profession can put an end to this suffering.
[i] The Oral Health Foundation: ‘Charity urges workplaces to tackle poor oral health as sick days cost UK economy £105m’. Published 15 May 2017. Accessed online 17 August 2017 at https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/details/961
[ii] NHS Digital: ‘Statistics on Smoking, England – 2017. Published 15 June 2017. Accessed online 21 August 2017 at http://www.content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB24228
[iii] National Smile Month: ‘Facts and Figures’. Accessed online 21 August 2017 at http://www.nationalsmilemonth.org/facts-figures/
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