News, Views and Advice

Calling in sick? 12-06-2017

We all know that pain and discomfort, due to oral health problems, can be inconvenient at the best of times. Whether you’re awaiting or recovering from treatment, or experiencing the odd niggle here and there, it’s something we could all do without. As well as the nuisance or soreness from having trouble with our teeth, these problems could be having a wider impact on our lives. This May, the Oral Health Foundation reported on the worrying statistics regarding the impact of oral health problems on our economy, due to the high number of working days lost.

As part of their annual National Smile Month, the Oral Health Foundation commissioned a survey to investigate the number of days at work missed due to oral health problems. The results were alarming: one out of every twenty working Brits have needed to miss time at work, during the last year, because of issues with their oral health. It was found that, over the last twelve months, more than 1.2 million working days have been missed. In terms of cost to the economy, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimate that missing just one working day on average costs us £82.86: it really adds up. But aside from the financial cost, that’s a whole lot of discomfort and pain we’re suffering due to problems with our oral health.

So how have we ended up in this situation? Dr Nigel Carter, who is the CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, suggests that we are suffering from tooth decay and subsequent pain due to bad oral health habits. Consuming sugary foods and drinks and brushing our teeth irregularly are part of the problem. This can sometimes be exacerbated by working environments where sugary snacks, such as cakes and crisps, are readily available. As well as being bad news for our waist lines, these habits also mean trouble for our teeth.

To reduce your risk of needing to miss work due to oral health problems, there are several simple steps you can take. Brushing your teeth regularly is key: ensure you brush twice a day, once last thing at night before you go to sleep, and at one other point during the day. Reduce the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume. Lastly, make sure you visit your dentist regularly, so that any problems can be picked up at an early stage, and advice can be given. Your dentist will be able to advise regarding how regularly they need to see you.

There are also steps that employers can take to support their staff with their oral health. By supplying healthier alternatives to sugary snacks, employees may incur less incidents of tooth decay. This reduction in decay will mean that fewer working days will be lost due to oral health problems. As well as helping in the tooth department, a reduction in sugary snacks and drinks also lessens the chance of other health problems occurring, such as obesity.

Taking a few simple measures can help to reduce your chances of suffering the pain and discomfort of tooth decay. As well preventing you from feeling pretty rotten, this can also mean that you won’t need to miss time at work due to oral health problems. For more information please visit the Oral Health Foundation.

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