Both employers and employees would greatly benefit from increasing the awareness of oral health issues.

A healthy workplace – physically and mentally – normally equals more time spent at work, with a more productive workforce.

By addressing the oral health and wellbeing of employees, your organisation can show its commitment to a healthy working environment.

Introducing healthy initiatives can improve working conditions that can benefit both the organisation and its employees by increasing productivity, reducing staff sickness while keeping your staff happy.

Making oral health and wellbeing an important part of your organisation’s working environment can make employees feel valued, satisfied and open to talking about things before they reach breaking point.

It is also a great idea to involve your employees in any changes you make to health policies. This will show them their opinion matters. It will also bring up some of the more important needs for your staff. Having team members involved in this also improve commitment and uptake of any policy changes and improve employee attitudes and behaviours towards oral health in the workplace.

Why should workplaces care about oral health?

Currently, more than two million people in the UK say they have taken time of work in the last five years due to poor oral health.

Most problems with teeth and gums are preventable with a good daily routine, but around seven per cent of the UK’s 32 million workforce have called in sick with their oral health at least once in the past five years.

Furthermore, government statistics show that a quarter of all adults have not visited a dentist in the past two years and a similar number only brush their teeth once a day. Staggeringly, this means that poor oral health costs the UK economy around £36 million every year!

But this is not only a problem affecting the UK, it is happening all over the world.

Thousands of people miss work because of their oral health. Frustratingly, it is a condition that is largely preventable.

We have also found that that less than one in ten workers (7 per cent) have received occupational health information from their employers about the importance of maintaining good oral health.

Remember, poor oral health is not just about toothache and tooth decay. It has a much wider impact on general bodily health than you may think. Research over the past decade has revealed growing evidence linking poor oral health to serious health conditions, which account for many more days off work.

Take a look how poor oral health can affect our general health, including heightened risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

Suggested oral health initiatives for the workplace: