The high cost of oral health problems

Health & Hygiene
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Work missed due to oral health problems costs the UK economy more than £36 million each year warns BSDHT

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 toothache.
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 person.

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 have to be 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.”

• Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
• Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day for two-minutes, with fluoride toothpaste.
• Clean between your teeth at least once a day with inter-dental brushes or dental floss.
• Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.
• Chew sugar-free gum to protect your teeth and gums in-between meals when it may not be possible to brush with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
• Wait an hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth so your saliva can help to enamel to ‘re-mineralise' and harden again.

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