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US Adults Miss 243 Million Hours of Work or School Annually Due to Oral Health Problems

Posted on Tuesday, February 6, 2024

New CareQuest Institute for Oral Health Report Highlights Impact of Untreated Dental Disease and the Cost of Lost Productivity

CareQuest Institute for Oral Health® has released a new report that shows that adults 18 and older in the US lose more than 243 million work or school hours annually due to oral health problems. The lost productivity time due to untreated dental disease costs the US an estimated $45 billion each year.

The visual report, The Hour of Need: Productivity Time Lost Due to Urgent Oral Health Needs, reveals that oral health problems and unplanned dental visits have a greater impact on daily activities such as work and school for individuals with lower incomes, no dental insurance, and less education.

“No one should have to sacrifice their schedule or pay because of preventable health issues,” said Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, president and CEO of CareQuest Institute. “This new report underscores the urgency of promoting equitable access to oral and overall health care, particularly for those with lower incomes and education levels.”

The report also finds that dental issues don’t just impact the person experiencing them; caregivers’ and parents’ lives are also impacted by unexpected dental visits and tending to oral pain. In fact, approximately 5.7 million parents/guardians missed an estimated total of 38.5 million productive hours due to their children’s oral pain or unplanned dental visit. Additionally, caregivers reported missing an estimated total of 22 million hours of productivity time as a result of either taking those for whom they care to an unplanned dental visit or staying home with them due to their oral pain.

Key findings, summarized in the visual report include:

· Lost productivity time due to untreated dental disease costs the US an estimated $45 billion each year.

· Adults reported missing productivity time for their own oral pain or unplanned dental visits (182.6 million hours) and the oral pain or dental visits of children (38.5 million hours) or adults (22 million hours) in their care.

· Nine million adults lost more than 60 million total work/school hours due to others’ oral health problems.

· Approximately 5.7 million parents/guardians missed an estimated total of 38.5 million productive hours due to their children’s oral pain or unplanned dental visit.

· Approximately 3.3 million adults said that, in the past year, the adult for whom they care had oral pain or an unexpected dental visit.

The report is based on findings from CareQuest Institute’s State of Oral Health Equity in America (SOHEA), an annual, nationally representative survey of 5,240 adults about knowledge, attitudes, experiences, and behaviors related to oral health.

Read the full report.  







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