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Embrace prevention, boost productivity

It’s just a toothache… it can wait…

Actually, it can’t. The distractions caused by simple toothaches, jaw pain other dental issues can cost workers more than just a trip to the dentist. They can drag down nearly everything a person does.

Here’s how that happens, and how you can help.

Understand the impact of distraction

It’s no surprise that distracted employees get less done. But did you know that distractions also lower the quality of the work employees accomplish? According to research done at George Mason University, even small distractions, such as an incoming text or email, can lower both an employee’s volume and quality of work.

Now imagine if an employee’s distraction is constant, like it can be with a toothache or jaw pain. What kind of effect would that have? And what if that went on for days, weeks or even longer?

Those productivity losses can add up quick. Still, many employees don’t do what’s necessary to prevent such incidents.

Put prevention first

Regular dental check-ups can find cavities, TMJ – the culprit behind stress-induced jaw pain – and gum disease before they disrupt work and life.

Yet, according to the American Dental Association, nearly a quarter of adults had no plans to see a dentist in 2014. While costs were one reason for this, nearly a third of those not planning a dental visit said it was because they didn’t need one.

That’s a lot of preventive care and early detection that didn’t happen.

And preventive care doesn’t take long – only about an hour every six months. That’s not much to invest in greater productivity and better health throughout the year.

Avoid the price of procrastination

Of course, not every dental issue can be prevented. Stuff happens. And when it does, encourage your employees to seek treatment early.

Some may rather “push on through” to get their work done. But an hour or so now could be the difference between a routine filling and a root canal later.

That’s not to mention the continued time spent distracted and performing below their capabilities.

If your employees want to get more done (and don’t we all?), encourage them to use their dental benefits for preventive care and early treatment. It’s good for them, good for you and good for your business.

Want to learn more about how Unum’s dental coverage can help your employees stay healthy and productive? See how much more we can do.