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Clean teeth and healthy gums not only contribute to a nice smile, but they’re also a sign of good health. Brushing and flossing are known to reduce plaque and tartar and prevent cavities, gingivitis, bone loss, and bad breath.

However, gum disease is also linked to heart disease, diabetes, and low birth weight babies. In fact, regular visits to the dentist and hygienist can reduce one’s risk for heart disease and stroke, as well as diabetes-related tooth loss.

You might be wondering at this point: What does this have to do with my small business?

It is important for businesses to understand the link between dental hygiene and health, and to examine the benefits of offering group dental insurance for their employees.

Dental Health and the Heart

Failing to brush and floss leaves bacteria free to accumulate between the teeth, and this increases their chances of entering the bloodstream. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, as many as 80 percent of American adults have some periodontal disease, with severe periodontal disease affecting around one percent of Americans. These bacteria can affect endothelial cells inside the blood vessels, causing narrowing of the arteries.

People can contribute to their overall heart health by visiting the dentist and hygienist at least twice per year, as well as brushing and flossing after every meal, when possible. Reducing consumption of high-carbohydrate and sugary foods is also recommended.

The Oral Hygiene and Diabetes Link

Much evidence exists demonstrating a direct link between gum disease and diabetes, with each one influencing the other. In fact, the research suggests that inflammatory periodontal disease can increase insulin in similar ways to how obesity increases insulin. Further, diabetes has been shown to attack bone surrounding the teeth.

The Link Between Poor Oral Hygiene and Work Productivity

Not unlike other illnesses, dental disease and/or pain is responsible for many employee absences and/or substandard work performance. Not only does this result in reduced income for the employee, but also in reduced business revenues. Thus, not only does a high-quality dental insurance plan help recruit and retain high-quality employees, dental insurance is increasingly being cited as among the most sought after benefits.

Dental Plans are Affordable

Thanks to increasingly sophisticated dental tools to improve oral health—such as fluoride, preventive care, and sealants, for example—overall oral health among Americans has, in fact, improved. In fact, the cost of dental care has risen considerably less than the cost of regular health care over the past several decades.

Primarily, whereas dental care and treatments are predictable, low-risk, low-cost, and usually non-catastrophic, medical needs are usually just the opposite. Thus, dental benefits plans can be easily self-funded with rare cost extremes.

Why Offer a Dental Benefit Plan to Employees?

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), there are three fundamental reasons supporting employers offering a dental insurance and benefit plan for their employees, and these reasons are easily applicable for businesses of any size.

1. Dental insurance is affordable and flexible.

Most dental insurance plans provide preventive, basic, and some major coverage. These include:

  • X-rays
  • Exams
  • Cleanings
  • Tooth extractions
  • Inlays
  • Root canals
  • Crowns
  • Dentures

Some plans also cover orthodontics for employees or, more commonly, their children.

2. Employees commonly want dental insurance.

As mentioned, dental insurance is consistently listed as among the most sought after benefits. Offering dental insurance can help small employers compete better with larger companies’ benefits packages.

3. Good dental hygiene is crucial for employee health and wellness.

As previously mentioned, dental problems are generally low-risk, but left untreated, dental problems can become significant problems leading to employee absences and lower performance. The relatively minor cost of employer-sponsored dental insurance pales in comparison to the potential loss of revenue and productivity that can occur with employees suffering from dental malaise.

For more information about obtaining group dental insurance benefits for your employees, please contact us.