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The UK dental crisis and the impact on employee wellbeing

Being able to access dentist services is becoming increasingly difficult across the UK. Half of all dentists have cut back on their NHS work leading to 1 in 4 of the adult population unable to access dental services1.

As news headlines have reported, this has forced some individuals to resort to home dentistry as they’re either unable to access an NHS dentist or afford private treatment. A YouGov poll2 carried out in March 2023, found that:

  • 1 in 5 adults are not registered with a dentist
  • 10% of people admitted to attempting DIY dentistry
  • Of these, 56% had carried out home dental treatment in the last year, and,
  • 20% did so because they could not find an NHS dentist.

And this is having a direct impact on employee wellbeing, with almost half of employees calling in sick or leaving work early due to dental pain in the last year.3

How is this affecting your business?

Poor oral health can lead to other health conditions and can encompass psychosocial dimensions such as self-confidence, well-being and the ability to socialize and work without pain, discomfort and embarrassment.

The YouGov poll showed that more than 1,330 working days were lost due to dental pain in the last year and for those who continued to work whilst suffering from dental issues, unsurprisingly, those individuals found it difficult to concentrate and were less productive.

  • How many of your team members have access to dental healthcare?
  • Are you experiencing loss of productivity and/or absence as a result of employees experiencing dental problems?
  • What about the financial impact on your employees of having to pay for private care due to the lack of NHS dental services?

The BUPA Wellbeing Index found that 68% of respondents said that if their employer offered dental insurance cover for regular check-ups and treatment, their motivation would increase.

Furthermore, 72% said they would take up dental insurance if offered as part of their employee benefits package.

Why consider offering a dental insurance plan?

Assistance with dental treatment is a widely appreciated benefit that employees will use every year, helping to support their overall health and wellbeing.

There is a range of employee funded or self-funded insurance based dental plans with varying levels of cover that can be designed to suit you and your employees – and provide benefits to both:

The benefits for your business

  • Demonstrates your commitment to the health and wellbeing of your people
  • Reduces absenteeism – providing a dental plan encourages employees to get regular check-ups or the treatment they need, cutting the likelihood of time off due to pain / illness caused by oral health issues
  • Ideal for businesses of all sizes and budgets
  • Highly valued benefit that can be either employer or employee funded

The benefits for your people

  • Saves money on expensive treatments
  • Provides peace of mind – they can access treatment when they need to, avoiding NHS waiting times
  • Enables cover for both routine and restorative treatments (fillings & extractions)
  • Easy to access – many company dental plans do not need initial examinations to determine the cost

Contact our team to start a conversation about how you can make a positive difference in the health, wellbeing and productivity of your team.

View more about our wellbeing offering here.