Fewer Adults Miss Work Due to Oral Health Issues

Dentistry Today


Fewer adults are skipping work because of toothaches, dental appointments, and similar problems, according to a January 2017 survey of 1,108 working Americans age 18 years and older collected by Delta Dental. In 2015, 28% of adults in the workforce missed work due to an oral health issue, a figure that dropped to 21% in 2016.

“The vast majority of Americans aren’t taking time away from the office due to oral health issues, and this decline continues to be positive,” said Bill Kohn, DDS, the Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science and policy. “It indicates people in the workforce are having fewer oral health issues and taking better care of their teeth.”

Millennials, the demographic that typically reports the highest amount of missed work due to oral health issues, have seen a decline from 40% reporting missed days in 2015 to 33% in 2016. And while men (25%) still miss more work days than women (17%) for oral health issues, both of those numbers are down compared to 2015’s totals of 29% of men and 26% of women.

Delta Dental suggests that dentists can help keep these trends moving in the right direction by offering valuable tips to patients for staying on top of their oral health while they are at work:

  • Patients should keep a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss stored in their desk in case they need an after-lunch touch-up. 
  • Patients should choose healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cheese in the afternoon instead of sugary treats.
  • Patients should drink plenty of water, with a water bottle kept at their desk to keep their body hydrated and to swish around their mouths after eating.
  • Stressful work can lead patients to clench or grind their teeth. When patients start to feel stress, they should take a minute to clear their mind, breath slowly and deeply, and relax.

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