Prepare your smile for National Smile Month 2022

08 June 2022
2 min read
Published:

Over the last two years, it’s been particularly hard for workers to keep up their usual dental routine. 96 per cent of dental professionals believe that the closure of dentists during national lockdowns negatively impacted the UK’s oral health.[1] 

For some people, this has left them nursing minor dental twinges that could have since developed into something more serious.

According to Unum’s most recent claims data, since the end of lockdowns in 2021 there has been a 41 per cent rise in dental claims compared to 2020.[2] This shows people are once again prioritising their oral health and benefiting from dental insurance as practices have reopened.

This news is timely. May 16 –June 16 is National Smile Month, a campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation which aims to help more people achieve a healthier life through better oral health, as well as raise funds to support people across the country with dental hygiene.

In line with this annual campaign, Unum Dental lists some simple things you can encourage your patients to do, to help them prioritise their oral health post-pandemic:

  • Get back into a regular routine of dental visits: The NHS has announced a £50m funding injection to help the recovery of dental services.[3] With more funding in place, now is the time to return to a regular schedule of dental check-ups to reduce the risk of gum disease and other long-term issues associated with poor oral health.
  • Focus on preventative dental care: A preventative approach to your oral health not only helps you maintain a healthy smile but can also keep an eye on other health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.[4] Preventative care therefore not only minimises the risk of you needing to take time off work for an extensive dental surgery — it can also reduce the risk of other sickness absences and boost your overall wellbeing.
  • Include a check for oral cancer: Oral cancer is where a tumour develops in a part of the mouth. It may be on the surface of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth (palate), the lips or gums. It’s important to be on the lookout for symptoms, such as long-lasting ulcers or red or white patches on your tongue,[5] as early detection is by far the most important factor when quickly treating mouth cancer. Taking a few moments to check your mouth can quickly and easily form part of your bathroom routine but can be a vital part of spotting mouth cancer warning signs.

Unum Dental is a Dental and Optical Insurance specialist, part of Unum, with over 50 years’ experience in the UK corporate employee benefits market.

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[1] British Dental Journal, Measures undertaken by the dental profession have aided post-COVID-19 recovery

[2] Unum internal claims data, 2021

[3] NHS England, Hundreds of thousands more dental appointments to help recovery of services

[4] Oral Health Foundation, Oral health and general wellbeing

[5] NHS, Symptoms: Mouth cancer