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Survey finds fewer Americans missing work due to oral health issues

Delta Dental survey sees 7% decline in out-of-office days

OAK BROOK, Illinois - May 25, 2017 - Tooth aches, pain and unplanned trips to the dentists keeping American adults away from the office are on the decline compared to last year, finds a survey from Delta Dental. In 2016, more than one-quarter (28 percent) of adults in the workforce cited missing work due to oral health issues. This year, that number has dropped a full seven percentage points, to 21 percent.

"The vast majority of Americans aren't taking time away from the office due to oral health issues, and this decline continues to be positive. It indicates people in the workforce are having fewer oral health issues and taking better care of their teeth," said Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental Plans Association's vice president of dental science and policy.

Even Millennials, the group who typically reports the highest amount of missed work due to oral health issues, have seen a decline from 40 percent reporting missed days in 2016 to 33 percent this year.

While men (25 percent) still miss more work days than women (17 percent) for oral health-related issues, both of those numbers are down from last year with 29 percent of men and 26 percent of women reporting that they took off work for a dental problem.

In addition to your home routine, Delta Dental recommends the following tips to stay on top of your oral health while at work:


  1. Keep a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss stored at your desk just in case you need an after-lunch tooth touch up.
  2. It can be easy to reach for a sugary snack for an afternoon pick me up. Try to keep healthy snacks readily available at work, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and cheese.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Keep a water bottle at your desk to keep your body hydrated and to swish around your mouth after eating.
  4. Work can get stressful, which can cause you to clench or grind your teeth. When you start to get stressed, try to take a minute to clear your mind, take a few slow, deep breaths and relax.

About the Survey: The Adult Oral Health Survey was conducted between January 24, 2017 and January 31, 2017 among a nationally representative sample of 1,108 Americans 18+. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percent.