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Dental Coverage Can Help Prevent Health Problems and Keep People on the Job

Tens of millions of Americans have put off their recommended dental care, and cost is a major factor.

A recent nationwide survey by found that the number one reason respondents had put off dental care, was high out-of-pocket costs. Other reasons include:

  • Dental anxiety (fear of pain).
  • Lack of insurance.
  • Dental plan won't cover procedure.
  • Time off needed for recovery.
  • Preferred dentist is out of network.
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According to CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, more than 76 million Americans lack dental insurance. Among those without insurance, 65% have skipped dental care because of cost, according to a Value Penguin survey. The same survey found that 48% of adults with insurance skipped their dental care for the same reason.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Baby boomers – those born between the years 1946 and 1964 – are the age group that is least likely to have dental insurance.
  • Those without dental insurance are twice as likely to be unhappy with their teeth as those who are insured.
  • Nearly 30% of people who do not have dental insurance regret not being covered.

Why is good dental care important?

Poor oral health leads to much more than bad teeth. Studies show that the bacteria that occurs with periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and may cause:

  • Cardiovascular disease – Bacteria can cause, or worsen, hardening of the arteries and increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. The bacteria can also cause endocarditis, a dangerous infection of the inner lining of the heart.
  • Respiratory infections – Gum disease can increase your risk of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Alzheimer's disease – Periodontal disease, especially in cases of tooth loss, has been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
  • Pregnancy problems – This includes premature and low-birth-weight babies.
  • Erectile dysfunction and low sperm counts
  • Diabetes complications – Periodontal disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels and worsen diabetes symptoms.
  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Malnutrition – People with tooth pain or loss are more likely to eat less and to choose softer, more processed foods, which can lead to an increased risk for malnutrition. This is often seen in the elderly population.

What's more, dental pain can drive up health care costs and employee absenteeism, and reduce productivity on the job. According to the National Institutes of Health, dental pain from non-traumatic events is the second most common emergency room discharge diagnosis in adults aged 20 to 39 years. Dental pain is the reason for two million emergency room visits annually.

How can you help your employees get good dental care?

At Allstate Benefits, we know that most employers care about their employees' well-being. They want a healthy and happy workforce.

Employers can help promote good oral hygiene by:

Raising awareness of its importance through their employee newsletter or other regular communications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers tips for maintaining good oral health in adults. You can use these tips to encourage your employees to:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and drink fluoridated water.
  • Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth with floss or water jet cleaner.
  • Visit your dentist at least once a year.
  • Do not use tobacco products.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Maintain control of diabetes.
  • Avoid a dry mouth.

Offering dental benefits. Companies that offer dental benefits can increase the chances that their employees will get regular oral care.

Contact a sales consultant today. Allstate Benefits offers dental coverage for groups and individuals.

The Self-Funded Program through Allstate Benefits provides tools for employers owning small to mid-sized businesses to establish a self-funded health benefit plan for their employees. The benefit plan is established by the employer and is not an insurance product. Allstate Benefits is a marketing name for: Integon National Insurance Company in CT, NY and VT; Integon Indemnity Corporation in FL; and National Health Insurance Company in CO, WA and all other states where offered. For employers in the Allstate Benefits Self-Funded Program, stop loss insurance is underwritten by these insurance companies in the noted states.

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