When employers develop work-site health promotion programs they often begin with healthy eating or physical activity campaigns.  While exercise and eating right will always be standard programs, organizations forget to promote current benefits. These benefits can have an impact on their employee population’s health; specifically, dental benefits.  There is a proven connection between oral health and medical cost savings.

After analyzing five years of health claims, a 2008 study by the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Michigan showed that for people with diabetes, getting regular periodontal services can lower overall medical and pharmacy costs by more than 10% and Diabetes-related medical costs could be lowered by as much as 19%.

Other studies have indicated a person with periodontal disease is up to four times more likely to develop heart disease and have twice the prevalence for diabetes than those without periodontal disease. Pregnant women with periodontal disease are at an increased risk for preterm births and low birth weight babies.

So in addition to starting new programs, consider promoting current benefits. Most dental problems do not become painful or visible until they are highly advanced.  At that point treatment can be time consuming and expensive. In comparison, the cost of basic oral hygiene is low.  It benefits all to encourage employees to have regular preventative visits to keep problems at bay.

Consider these options to encourage dental visits.

  • Advertise your dental benefits. 
  • Educate your employees about the link between oral health and other health issues.
  • Bring dentists on site.
  • Award a new electric toothbrush to employees who get their annual check up.
  • Promoting your existing dental benefits is a low cost, easy campaign, which can result in measurable results.