Healthier teeth prevent disease

Oct. 19, 2005
Company stresses importance of oral health as key to overall wellness.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and the Principal Financial Group urges all consumers to schedule a regular dental check-up for good oral health.

Beyond healthy gums and teeth, oral health plays a significant role in overall wellness. From the early detection of oral and throat cancer to the increased risks that gum disease poses for diabetics, heart disease sufferers, and pregnant women, routine dental care can prevent serious health issues.

Each year 2.5 million workdays are lost due to oral health problems, many of which could have been prevented by routine dental exams, covered through dental insurance. Educating consumers on the benefits of preventative dental care is important in protecting overall health.

"As employers ask their employees to become more responsible for health care decisions, the value of regular dental checkups can not be understated as part of an overall wellness plan," said Dr. Don Altman, dental director for the Principal Financial Group.

"During National Dental Hygiene Month in October, we encourage everyone to take time to become educated about dental health and schedule a regular dental check-up to help prevent health problems before they begin."

The importance of preventative care is increasingly important as dental plans become more flexible, allowing members more choices in coverage. Programs like the Principal Dental Series Employee Choice program give employers the ability to offer employees benefits with multiple plan types including customized deductibles, co-insurance, maximums and provisional levels.

Also, members can choose from providers of their choice or access providers within a national dental network of more than 75,000 provider locations.

"We recognize employers are looking for increased flexibility and more choices as they respond to increasing health care costs," said Theresa McConeghey, dental product director for The Principal.

"Since our dental program provides customized solutions, we offer resources that educate employees and employers helping them make informed dental choices and prevent future oral health problems."

The Principal provides a number of tools in an effort to help members understand the value of dental care. Through, members can access a dental cost estimator, which calculates dental costs in a given zip code, and search for network providers who provide discounted charges and fees. also features information about dental benefits and treatment options, articles on dental health, and an "Ask A Dentist," section where questions are answered by Dentistat-certified dentists.