Employees missing work due to oral health problems costs the UK economy an estimated £36.6 million each year, according to a leading health organisation.
The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) have drawn attention to the statistics as part of National Toothache Day [9 February] to highlight the impact that preventable dental problems have on the UK economy.
A nationwide study of UK employees has discovered an estimated 415,000 people miss at least a day of work each year due to oral health problems1 while one in five say they would be prepared to call in sick because to a toothache2.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have calculated that the average cost of missing a day’s work in the UK is £80.20 per person3.
Michaela ONeill, President of the BSDHT said: “National Toothache Day is certainly not anything to smile about as toothache usually makes those who suffer from it very miserable. A toothache can make it difficult for someone to eat, drink, sleep and even talk.
“To have so many people being forced to miss work and costing the economy a staggering amount due to toothache and other oral health problems is a real eye opener, especially when many of the causes are entirely preventable.
“We are taking this opportunity to remind everyone that by maintaining a good daily oral health routine they can avoid the unhappiness and pain which comes with oral health problems.
“By visiting your dental team regularly you can put in place preventative treatments to avoid developing toothache.
“There are many causes of toothache, it could be due to an infection, dental trauma or heightened sensitivity, the most common cause of toothache though is tooth decay.”
Tooth decay is caused by plaque acids that gradually dissolve away the enamel and dentine of the tooth exposing the sensitive nerves underneath. Teeth which have decay often need filling or even taken out.
If you have toothache for any reason you should visit your dental health team as soon as possible who will help get to the root cause and help to alleviate the discomfort.
Mhari Coxon, Dental Hygienist and Trustee of the oral health charity, the British Dental Health Foundation, gave her top tips to avoid toothache: “Through maintaining regular good oral health practices we can all help to avoid the agony of toothache.
“But this is not the only risk, oral health problems are linked to serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
“By following these six simple tips you can help to prevent any serious problems developing in the future.”
1. British Dental Health Foundation survey, 2013: Have you taken a sick-day off work in the past five years due to toothache?
2. British Dental Health Foundation survey, 2014: Which of these oral health problems would keep you off of work?
3. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: Absence Management Report 2015 - https://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/absence-management_2015.pdf
The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.
BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.
Visit www.bsdht.org.uk for more information.
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