British companies are losing around 12 million working days a year to absence for dental treatment, new research shows.
The survey of 190 British companies by provider of healthcare benefits, HSA, found that this led to an associated cost of around £754 million per year being lost to businesses, with many companies omitting to monitor absence caused by dental treatment or pain.
Only around a quarter of companies surveyed said that they were prepared to pay for dental benefits for their staff, with 61 per cent saying that they thought it was the responsibility of workers to look after their own teeth.
However, helping staff with funding their dentist bills could actually have a positive effect for employers, claims HSA, as serious conditions could be spotted earlier, reducing time off that would need to be taken later.
"Firstly, by allowing employees to visit the dentist based on need rather than on affordability it may help towards the prevention of serious conditions; secondly as availability of private dental appointments may be more flexible around work hours, the length of absence taken for treatment may be reduced," said Suzanne Clarkson, head of corporate marketing at HSA.
The company also said that a corporate dental benefit could help with employee retention, a view which is shared by employers, with 57 per cent of businesses saying the main reason for providing it was to be 'seen as a caring employer'.