Workplace habits

02 January 2014 | News
Workplace habits

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

Dentists’ Provident undertook an online survey earlier this year 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.

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% of dentists who completed the survey only drank half a litre of water a day or less, and over 50% said they didn’t drink anything else during the day. The association of UK dietitians’ states that every day men should drink 2 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.

Hywel, a Dentists’ Provident member based in south wales, and one of the winners of the Bluetooth speakers from the survey prize draw stated that “As dentists we try to do our best to look after ourselves but the job doesn’t often allow us the time between patients to drink the recommended level of fluid, as well as getting rid of it...Appointments are unpredictable, it's easy enough to control the timing of the patient coming in, but more difficult to know how long the appointment will be.”

Less than 40% of respondents took a lunchbreak and over 60% 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 recent conference. 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% 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.

This release is intended for information only. It is not designed to give financial or medical advice, nor is it intended to make any recommendations of the suitability of our plans for a particular individual. Full details of our contract can be found in our rules on our website. Dentists’ Provident Society Limited does not accept liability and responsibility for changes made to this information. Some of the information in this release has been obtained from third parties. While we believe the information to be reliable; we make no representations as to its accuracy and accept no responsibility or liability for any error, omission or inaccuracy in the data supplied by any third party.


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