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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
July 10, 2013

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Dental problems cost business millions

Businesses are being urged to incorporate dental health into their occupational-health policies, after a survey suggested that more than 415,000 employees took time off work last year on account of oral-health problems.

Following a survey it carried out of just over 1000 people, the British Dental Health Foundation estimated that more than two million people in the UK have taken a sick-day in the past five years because of toothache, while one in 20 has taken a day off work to take their child to the dentist.

According to the charity, oral-health problems cost UK business £36.6 million last year. Further research by the Foundation suggests that fewer than one in ten workers received information from their employers about the importance of maintaining good oral health.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter OBE believes that if businesses placed as much importance on the dental well-being of their employees as they did on their general health, absenteeism in the workplace could be reduced.

He said: “The figures from this study highlight the significant number of people who are forced to miss work each year unnecessarily due to largely avoidable and preventable oral-health problems. What many employers won’t realise is that poor oral health is increasingly being linked to other more serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, strokes and heart problems.”

He continued: “By introducing dental health into occupational-health policies, employers can not only increase the productivity and performance of their workers but they can help reduce absence-related costs, too.”

A recent Bupa study found that only half the people it questioned had regular dental check-ups. Ruth Chesmore, the company’s director of dental services, said: “Visiting the dentist for regular check-ups can help prevent dental problems in the long term.

“Even people who are happy with their teeth should pay attention to their dental health, as problems can happen at any time and get worse if not treated. Educating people on what to look out for can help prevent problems and reduce time off work.”

For a previous SHP article on the subject, by Dr Chris Ide, visit:

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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