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Employee Benefits, Employee Wellbeing

5 reasons to include dental insurance in your employee benefits programme

April 7th is World Health Day, a day that aims to draw attention to health topics of concern and supports the WHO’s mission of healthcare access for all. This year, the theme is ‘My health, my right’

As the WHO highlights, health is included as a human right in the constitution of 140 countries, yet billions are still denied this fundamental right in practice. This year’s theme was chosen to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services and inspire action to bridge the current gap. 

Organisations can play their part by offering health benefits as part of their employee benefits packages, such as dental insurance. As a dental professional, I strongly support employer-sponsored dental insurance (either as a core or flexible benefit) – especially as 77% of employees rate dental insurance among their top 10 most valued benefits (Benefex Evolution Research, 2023).  

Here are 5 reasons to offer a dental benefit  

1. Promote preventive care 

Including cover for preventative check-ups and procedures incentivises regular dental visits, which is important for maintaining good oral health and identifying potential problems early. This early intervention helps to minimise the need for more invasive and expensive procedures down the road. 

For example, Bupa Dental Insurance plans include cover for preventive procedures like cleanings, X-rays, and fluoride treatments, supporting preventative dental care. 

2. Help employees manage chronic conditions 

Chronic oral health conditions, like periodontal (gum) disease, are quite common. By offering dental insurance coverage as part of your benefits package, you can help your employees to better manage their dental care through regular checkups and deep cleaning. These services also help to inhibit the progression of current problems and potential general health complications that can be linked to poor oral health. 

3. Improve overall employee health 

There is extensive research demonstrating the strong link between oral health and overall wellbeing, and how untreated conditions like gum disease can exacerbate existing medical conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Dental insurance promotes preventive care, contributing to a healthier lifestyle and reducing the likelihood of sickness. 

4. Increase employee productivity 

The Journal of Dental Nursing reports that 3 in 10 people take time off due to toothache, which led to 23 million lost working days last year in the UK. Dental pain and discomfort are significant productivity disruptors, so by making treatments more accessible and affordable, insurance plans can minimise employee absenteeism and presenteeism. 

5. Meet growing employee demands 

With some NHS dental services struggling to meet demand, employees are asking employers to explore dental insurance solutions that will support their needs. It’s becoming more common for organisations to extend health protection to employees on lower salaries, so they and their dependants can get access to immediate care; rather than facing NHS waiting lists of which can be as long as six months+. 

How can you deliver on employee expectations? 

Employee expectations towards benefits have increased across the board in the last 12 months, and these expectations are particularly focussed on health and wellbeing-related benefits, with many employees viewing insurance and protection benefits as critical.  

With 46% of employees citing their employer as their most trusted source of advice or information, employees are looking at their employers for support in all areas of their life – including healthcare. 

To learn more about what employees want from their benefits, download Benefex’s Big Benefits Report. 

Picture of Dr Neil Sikka

Dr Neil Sikka

Chief Dental Officer, Bupa, UK Insurance

Picture of Clare Dolan

Clare Dolan

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