Employee Well-being Month and the Importance of Dental Benefits

Posted on June 3, 2016 in Dental benefit information

Happy employees equal productive employees. It's Employee Well-being Month, and the perfect time to explore ways to improve employee wellness at your company. Ask yourself, as an employer or a human resources professional, what you are doing to create a healthy environment for your employees, and in turn, a productive and positive workplace.

When you consider employee well-being, benefits surely come into play. Dental benefits consistently rank high in importance among employees. Oral health and overall health are closely connected, and as you well know, you can't have a healthy business without healthy employees. Here's more information on why it's so important to provide your employees with dental benefits.

Oral health is connected to overall health

Did you know that more than 90% of all systemic diseases show oral symptoms? There's no doubt that oral health and overall health are connected. If you provide medical benefits but not dental benefits to your employees, you're failing to address an important part of their well-being.

Studies show that people with dental coverage are more likely to visit the dentist. With oral health, prevention is key. Preventive visits can prevent small issues from turning into time consuming, difficult and costly procedures. Additionally, dentists help detect over 120 systemic diseases. Delta Dental of Illinois offers an Enhanced Benefits Program that provides enhanced coverage for individuals who have specific health conditions, such as diabetes or certain cardiac conditions, which can be positively affected by additional oral health care. These enhancements are based on scientific evidence that shows treating and preventing oral disease in these situations can improve overall health.

Employees request and expect dental coverage

Today, it's not just traditional medical insurance that employees expect from their jobs. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a public policy research organization, two-thirds of workers consider dental benefits to be very or extremely important. Dental insurance is the third most requested employee benefit, just after medical insurance and retirement plans. The findings are clear: employees want to maintain their oral health, and they expect their employers to provide dental benefits.

Solid benefits make recruitment and retention easier

Benefits can be a key factor in a jobseeker's decision-making process, especially when that jobseeker is faced with multiple competing offers. Approximately three-quarters of workers surveyed by EBRI said that the offered benefits package would be very or extremely important in their decision to accept a job. It's clear that providing dental insurance as part of a robust benefits package can help employers recruit and retain the top talent needed to grow and thrive.

By now, hopefully you're of the mindset that providing quality dental coverage is a smart decision for both your employees and your business. But providing benefits is only half of the equation. It's also important to encourage your employees to use those benefits. Here's how:

Talk about it

There are many ways to encourage your employees to use their dental benefits. Simply reminding them to schedule regular dental appointments, as well as other wellness visits and necessary doctor appointments, during all-staff meetings or performance reviews is one way. Alternatively, you might send a company-wide reminder email once a quarter or slip a reminder note into your paycheck envelopes or internal newsletter. Make it clear that dental visits are an appropriate reason to leave the office during the day, or establish a way for employees to swap shifts or delegate responsibilities in order to make the time for dental and other health appointments. Delta Dental of Illinois provides many ways to support this effort from in-person presentations or webinars to check stuffers and Intranet banners.

Consider the kids

It's also important to allow your employees time to take their kids to the dentist. If you don't give them the flexibility to schedule planned dental appointments for their kids, you may pay the price in unplanned missed work days later. According to Delta Dental of Illinois' 2016 Children's Oral Health Survey, a quarter of working Illinois parents missed work in the previous year due to issues with their children's oral health. Seven percent of working Illinois parents missed over four hours of work for this reason.

Provide resources

Delta Dental of Illinois provides companies with a variety of resources that can help encourage good oral health habits among employees. Delta Dental of Illinois offers LifeSmile, an employee wellness program with a variety of communications materials that can be tailored to your company's needs.

These materials include email campaigns, preventive care reminders, posters and flyers, monthly oral health articles in both English and Spanish, oral health brochures and more. Delta Dental of Illinois can even provide an in-person presentation for your employees on a variety of oral health topics by Dr. Katina Spadoni, our dental director and a practicing dentist.

Whatever path you choose, Delta Dental of Illinois offers free resources to emphasize the value of dental benefits and importance of oral health. These resources are readily available for your use, so make sure you take advantage of them. You can begin by sharing our past blogs, Make the Most of Your Dental Benefits and The Added Benefits of Dental Plans. You can also share the following videos with your employees:

Encouraging healthy choices around the office

Of course, encouraging employee well-being goes beyond providing quality benefits and encouraging your employees to use them. It also involves creating an environment that promotes healthy choices.

This Employee Well-being Month, consider providing your team with mouth-healthy snacks like veggie trays and low-sugar yogurt. You may also want to start an incentive program for employees that rewards those who make healthy lifestyle changes, like quitting tobacco or beginning an exercise program. Ask your employees what changes in the office or your company culture would most help them make healthier choices, and then take action and respond.

What are you doing to encourage wellness in your workplace this month and throughout the year? Are you making changes in the benefits you offer or creating programs to promote healthy practices? If you have questions about the role of dental benefits in improving the well-being of your workforce, contact us at 1-800-335-8215 or ASKDELTA@deltadentalil.com.