Show of hands: Who doesn’t want a straight, white smile and fresh breath?
But dental care is about a lot more than that — and skimping on it can hurt both your overall health and your wallet.
Regular dental care is key in maintaining overall health. Routine visits to the dentist can help detect oral health problems early when treatment is likely simpler and more affordable. The Mayo Clinic says good dental care also can help detect or prevent common but serious health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and premature birth.
“Your oral health can affect your overall health in surprising ways,” says Jill Purcell, dental product manager for employee benefits provider Unum. “Regular dental visits are essential to keeping up with and preventing problems.”
Your employer doesn’t offer dental insurance? Ask them to. They may not be aware they can offer this benefit at no cost to the business. It’s true traditional group plans can be too expensive for many smaller employers, but your company could make individual coverage available on a voluntary basis. That gives you access to important protection at an affordable price.
Here’s a bit more motivation: A lack of dental coverage may also be hurting your productivity at work. The Centers for Disease Control report employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year related to oral health problems. If you work in a customer service job, you’re likely to lose 2-4 times more work hours than executives. That could affect your employer’s bottom line — and your own wallet.