Workplace Dental Checkups and Dental Health Education Promote Healthy Behavior
Although dental care expenditures represent the largest category of expenditures for our operations at the Kobe Steel Health Insurance Society, most of our members do not take advantage of our dental checkup services. We, therefore, launched a project to provide dental checkups for all of the employees at a single worksite with approximately 3,000 employees. We then assessed subsequent improvements in dental health behaviors among the site’s employees.
A dental checkup company provided checkups between 2012 and 2015. To encourage dental clinic visits for employees who needed further dental care, occupational health nurses held health education seminars in 2015. These seminars included information about the value of dental health and dental health checkups, discussions on how to prevent tooth decay, and practical training concerning the optimal ways to brush and floss teeth. The employees also completed a questionnaire about six different dental health behaviors before and after educational sessions in 2015 and before and after a second round of educational sessions in 2016.
Analyses of the dental health questionnaire data indicated commitments to each healthy behavior rose after the educational sessions in 2015. However, these commitment levels had declined again by the survey timepoint occurring before the educational sessions in 2016. The percentage of employees who reported visiting dental clinics rose after the dental health checkups, but the percentage did decrease over time following the checkups. Interestingly, the increase in dental clinic visits did not translate into increased dental care expenditures per employee, which suggests that major dental interventions were not usually needed.
Overall, our findings show that workplace dental checkups and dental health education sessions are effective tools for, at least temporarily, promoting dental clinic visits and behaviors that advance dental health. Based on our findings, we plan to regularly hold occupational health education sessions that incorporate information about dental health. The regular provision of such seminars should serve to promote continuous adherence to healthy behaviors.
Link to the original journal article:
Dental checkup in the occupational setting and health education given by occupational health nurses
Emiko Uenishi, Akiko Ohara, Rie Suzuki, Kazumi Sasamoto, and Satoko Zama
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