There are 164 million reasons businesses and workers should bring dental health awareness to the job. Sounds like a lot, right? But that’s how many days of work employees miss each year as a result of dental-related accidents and health problems. And that, of course, leads to less productivity, more missed deadlines, workers distracted by pain, higher health costs, and lower morale.
So workers and managers, take note: Here are eight simple and extremely inexpensive-to-free things you can do to decrease your own and your co-workers’ dental risks, and increase attendance and workplace satisfaction.
- Encourage brushing and flossing during the workday. Some employees may feel kind of odd about doing a “home” behavior at the office, but managers can set the tone by being role models, educating staff members about the importance of brushing more often, and posting reminders about dental hygiene importance in restrooms and lunchrooms.
- Keep dental tools at the office. A study in Japan showed that having toothbrushes, paste, and floss in a desk drawer encourages substantially more use that carting them around in a purse, briefcase, or computer bag.
- Eat right. Fruits, veggies, and cheese are as great for your teeth as they are for your insides.
- Chew and/or offer via vending machines sugarless gum, which freshens breath and pulls harmful bacteria off of teeth all day long.
- Encourage/choose water to sip or rinse with throughout the day. Again, what’s good for one’s health is good for one’s teeth. And know that even better than expensive bottled water is fluoride-filled tap water: Free and convenient. And studies have shown that vigorously rinsing with tap water is as beneficial to your dental health as rinsing with mouthwash.
- Raise awareness. Managers can make employees aware of healthy dental practices all day long by being role models and providing education/training to their staff.
- Involve Human Resources. Consider having a dental health section in your training materials or employee handbook, offer free trainings encouraging dental health, and/or participate in office contests and country-wide events such as National Smile Week.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contribute to health and dental-health issues. Limit intake of soda, coffee, juices, sports beverages and sticky, sugary snacks. Vending machine and cafeteria offerings should include healthy food and beverage choices.
Dental health is not separate from overall health; it is an important part of the whole. And work life is not separate from overall life. Incorporating good dental practices at work will go a long a way to enhancing health and, in turn, productivity and joy. A little bit of effort will go a long way.
Are you encouraging dental hygiene in the workplace? What ways are you and your co-workers making the environment better? Let us know in your comments!