The Dentist Magazine.

Health and wellbeing survey

Published: 24/02/2017

The dental profession is well known for being a caring profession, full of individuals constantly focusing on their patients’ health and wellbeing. Last year, Dentists’ Provident investigated if dentists are as good at looking after themselves. 

To do this, Dentists’ Provident undertook an online survey that revealed that dentists aren’t taking enough breaks or drinking enough water during a working day. This could not only affect an individual’s ability to practise, but also have an impact on their health and wellbeing.

This month Dental Update and The Dentist are rerunning this survey. So, to be part of it and have the chance of winning a £100 Amazon voucher, go to (www.george-warman-publications.com/view/email/632) or reply to your Dental Update eshot.

Dentists’ Provident’s annual claims statistics demonstrate that many of the health issues dentist’s experience are for conditions that are potentially preventable, such as musculoskeletal issues. While some of these conditions may be harder to combat – due to the physical nature of the role – simple everyday habits that could have an effect on an individual’s health are easier to change.  

Nearly 70 per cent of dentists who completed the survey last year only drank half a litre of water a day or less, and over 50 per cent said they didn’t drink anything else during the day. The association of UK dietitians’ states that every day men should drink two litres of water and women 1.6, and that not having enough fluid can cause dehydration and that can lead to a variety of health issues.

Less than 40 per cent of respondents took a lunchbreak and over 60 per cent didn’t take any small breaks at all. It is recommended, if possible, to take a short break every hour to ensure that your mind and body can rest and recover. Doing this as a matter of routine could help to prevent a variety of health conditions.

Nicola Jeffrey, a registered dietitian, undertook a number of dietetic consultations with dentists at a conference last year. She reported, “I was surprised how little dentists eat and drink during the day due to their busy work schedules. Adequate fluid consumption is vital to maintain good health. Poor concentration, lethargy and headaches are common symptoms of dehydration, all which clearly have a detrimental effect on one’s working day. Adopting a regular eating pattern has been shown to reduce the risk of weight gain, improve glycaemic control and control feelings of hunger (British Dietetic Association, 2016).”

Also, over 60 per cent of respondents didn’t exercise at all, which could mean that they have a sedentary lifestyle at work and at home. People with a mainly sedentary lifestyle are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes to name just a few.

Although it’s hard with busy schedules, dental professionals need to be vigilant to ensure they are taking enough breaks, drinking enough fluids and taking some exercise. After all, it is important to look after your own health as well as that of your patients.