Source: United Benefit Advisors (UBA)

Author Stanley Gordon West said, “Smile and the world smiles with you.” He may have been onto something. There used to be a time when most working Americans took dental care for granted. Of course, times change and so has our nation’s health care. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) doesn’t mandate dental coverage for adults, but voluntary dental coverage has become increasingly competitive based on research from Eastbridge.

Moreover, according to an article in??Employee Benefit News, employers that not only offer dental coverage, but also encourage employees to visit their dentist annually are able to boost their employee’s well-being and overall productivity. Good oral hygiene has been linked to a number of health benefits, and people who routinely visit their dentist report that their well-being is good compared to people who do not visit a dentist on a regular basis.

So how is good dental care linked to productivity? Simple. Based on a survey from Delta Dental, one in six people have missed work due to oral health issues. Plus, if someone has ever had a toothache, they know just how hard it is to concentrate on anything else except the throbbing pain in their mouth.

Employees that have dental coverage are more likely to visit their dentist and that’s exactly what the coverage is designed to do. Preventative care is paramount to preventing someone from ever needing significant work done to their teeth. For people who might be afraid of going to the dentist, they should consider that a yearly visit for preventative care is a lot less painful – and less expensive – than having any type of major dental work.

That same report highlighted that the vast majority of people with dental insurance scheduled an annual visit with their dentist compared with only half of people without insurance. What’s especially troubling is that income, education, and age were factors in determining whether an employee selected voluntary dental coverage.

Based on the lack of opting for voluntary dental care, it behooves employers to offer it as part of a comprehensive benefits package. Most employers would agree that having healthy and productive workers makes their business stronger. Therefore, dental insurance should go hand-in-hand with health insurance when the time comes for an employee to have a discussion with their human resources representative regarding insurance.

Plus, most people would agree that it’s easier to work with others if they have good oral hygiene. Mints and gum can only help so much and when working closely with a co-worker it’s much more enjoyable if they have fresh breath and clean, white teeth.

So flash those pearly whites while you’re working and you’ll probably see that the rest of the world is smiling right along with you!