Managing Wellness

National Headache Awareness Month 2017: Understanding Dental-Related Headaches

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Posted by June 6, 2017

It’s National Headache Awareness Month 2017, and people all over the world are likely suffering from a headache at this very moment. Could it be one of your employees? In fact, the World Health Organization reported that up to one in 20 people experience headaches daily, or almost every day. While many workers understand that eye strain from staring at a computer screen all day may lead to a headache, they may not understand that dental issues may cause a headache, too.

Want to reduce the amount of sick time your employees are taking because they are suffering from head pain? Because you care about your employees, it’s important to keep them educated on what may be affecting their headaches. If your staff identify a dental issue as being a potential cause of the problem, they can then utilize their dental insurance to seek treatment, leading to less time out of the office and better productivity.

In honor of National Headache Awareness Month 2017, here’s a list of four dental-related headache causes to share with your staff. Encourage them to seek treatment for any issue that may be causing their pain and be accommodating with their work schedule so they attend the next available appointment.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

The temporomandibular joint connects a person’s jawbone to their skull. When it is misaligned, injured, or a person clenches or grinds their teeth, they may develop TMD, which could possibly lead to head pain radiating up from the jaw to other areas of the head.

Tired Bite

The American Association of Craniofacial Pain reports that in order to swallow, a person’s upper and lower jaw must firmly meet so as to brace the jaw against their skull. What’s even more incredible is that a normal person swallows over 2,000 times a day! If their bite is not properly aligned, they may experience headaches.

Dental Treatment

Have your employees been seen at their dentists for treatment lately? If their bite is slightly off after getting a filling or a crown, they may continue to experience pain in their head. And fillings aren’t the only dental treatments that may spark a headache. Any changes in your employees’ mouths—such as pulling a tooth, infection, root canals and more—may be the potential catalyst of a headache. Additionally, people who use a removable mouthpiece for their sleep apnea instead of a C-PAP machine should be checked after placement to ensure they are not experiencing bit issues from improper positioning.

Referred Pain

Referred pain is one of the more frustrating “diagnoses” to experience. What it basically means is that pain from one part of the body is being referred to another part. For example, a tooth with an infected root might be referring pain from the mouth to the head.

Preventing and Treating Dental-Related Headaches

Want to help your employees prevent headaches that keep them out of work? Educate them on the many reasons headaches occur, and encourage your employees to use their employee benefits for preventative care. Quite often, your staff will try to forge through the workday when they are experiencing light pain. “Oh, it’s just a headache,” they’ll say, but it’s more than just that.

Common ailments, such as headaches, lower presenteeism in the workplace, leading to poorly completed work and more time spent on tasks than usual. But, your staff needs to understand that you view their headaches as a serious condition. Regularly reinforce how important you believe preventative care to be, such as biyearly dental cleanings. Encourage your staff to take work time to treat any underlying conditions that may be causing them discomfort. And finally, lead by example. If your staff feel like management or HR doesn’t ever utilize their PTO, they will follow suit. Take care of yourself, and take care of your staff.

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