Nearly 600,000 veterans reported productivity loss in the past year due to oral health problems, according to a report from CareQuest Institute and the American Institute of Dental Public Health. The report finds that lack of access to dental care leads to significant losses in productivity time and money for veterans and their employers. Other key findings include:
- Veterans with urgent dental needs were approximately five times more likely to report poor functioning and work compared to veterans who needed routine dental care.
- Poor oral health is linked to several chronic conditions, including heart disease. Among veterans with heart disease, the annual cost of missed workdays was four times higher for those who did not have a dental visit in the past year.
- Nearly 3 million veterans felt self-conscious or embarrassed because of their teeth, mouth, or dentures, which “has profound effects on socialization and feelings of loneliness.”
The authors write, “Service to country, deployment, and combat experience amplify a veteran’s risk of poor health outcomes and reduced quality of life.” Yet, 85% who are eligible for medical care through the Veteran’s Affairs Administration (VA) are not eligible for dental coverage or care. Expanding that eligibility, write the authors, is just one of several solutions to improve oral health for veterans.
You may also be interested in:
- The Hour of Need: Productivity Time Lost Due to Urgent Oral Health Needs, a visual report that explores why adults in the US miss more than 243 million hours of productivity time due to oral health problems.
- Veteran Oral Health: Expanding Access and Equity, a white paper that shines a light on the factors that drive poor oral health outcomes for veterans and identifies actions to improve access to and quality of care for veterans.
- Veteran Dental Care Stimulates the Economy and Improves Overall Health, a visual report that examines the economic and health implications of improving access to dental care for veterans.