Half of employees call in sick or leave work early due to dental pain

Almost half of employees have called in sick or left work early due to dental pain, according to new research.

The study, headed up by Bupa Dental Insurance, also found that 73% of workers have delayed going to the dentist. More than two in five delayed treatment as they were worried about needing time off work.

Nearly half of employees (48%) have called in sick or left work early due to dental pain. The results suggest that almost 1,330 working days were lost to dental pain in the last year.
Other findings include:
  • Almost one third (31%) of employees say they have experienced a negative response from their employer when asking for time away for dental treatment
  • For employees who continue to work through pain, they said they’ve found it difficult to concentrate (29%), became less productive (25%), and were snappier with colleagues (14%).

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Neil Sikka, dentist and chief dental officer at Bupa Dental Insurance, said: ‘It’s concerning when people put off dental treatment. It can lead to problems becoming much worse, as early diagnosis and treatment can significantly lower the chances of severe pain or tooth extraction.

‘The same goes for routine check-ups. By delaying, it puts people at risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which may cause serious complications, pain or require more specialist treatment.

‘Employers have a responsibility to look after the wellbeing of their workforce, and this includes oral health. Allowing time for dental appointments may improve productivity and require fewer sick days over the long-term.’

The Bupa Wellbeing Index found that 68% of respondents said their motivation at work would increase if dental insurance was offered by their employer. A similar number (72%) said they would take up dental insurance if offered.

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