Unum Dental: National Smile Month 2021

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Unum Dental’s Glenn Thompson urges people back to the dental surgery

Glenn Thompson (top) Chief Distribution Officer at Unum UK, explains the importance of both maintaining dental visits and an effective at-home oral hygiene routine.

During lockdown, it’s been particularly hard for workers to keep up their usual dental routine, with dentists closing for parts of last year, our daily lives being disrupted, and evidence suggesting a large backlog in dental appointments. For some, this has meant nursing minor dental twinges that could have since developed into something more serious.

While toothache may seem fairly minor, its impact can be anything but. Dealing with a nagging, constant pain can seriously impair an employee’s powers of concentration and ability to produce their best work.

However, until June 17th 2021 it’s National Smile Month, a campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation to boost awareness of the importance of good oral health and raise funds to support people with their dental hygiene across the country.

National Smile Month is an opportunity for everyone to take stock of their oral health and ensure their smiles shine their brightest, whether they’re continuing to work remotely or starting to return to the office. Amidst all the professional and personal disruption caused by lockdown, we know how difficult it was for many employees to maintain an adequate dental regime.

Fortunately, National Smile Month reminds us all just how important it is to stay on top of our dental care. Taking a preventative approach to your oral health really is critical; it not only helps maintain a healthy smile but will also keep a check on other health issues, in turn minimising the risk of you needing time off work for extensive dental surgery or another teeth-related sickness absence.

That’s something for us all to bear in mind, whether we’re continuing to work from home or plan to spend time in the office going forwards. To help ensure people maintain a good dental routine, here are my top three simple tips:

1. Keep a regular routine outside of dental visits: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss regularly and maintain a schedule of check-ups where you can. This will help to keep your oral health in check as well as reduce the risk of gum disease and other long-term issues associated with poor oral health.

2. Be wary of gum disease: Keep an eye out for gums that are either swollen and red or bleed easily as this may be an early sign of gingivitis, which has the potential to lead to tooth loss. However, following a visit to the dentist and a strict dental hygiene regime, gingivitis is usually reversible.

3. Avoid delaying treatment: If you experience ongoing toothache, or other dental issues including unusual changes in your mouth, it’s important to make a dental appointment as soon as you can. Dentists are open to patients, so long as they have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). If you notice anything out of the ordinary, get checked out by your dentist or doctor and try to stick to your normal schedule of check-ups and hygienist visits.

Unum Dental has over 30 years’ experience in the employee benefits market specialising in corporate dental and optical insurance.