Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

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Stories to smile about: Robert

Dental care with dignity – war veteran gets his smile and his life back. 

Robert Bennett

2‑minute read

What if a healthy smile could restore dignity, improve your quality of life and career outlook? For one very deserving man, that’s exactly what happened when he visited one of the UNLV Delta Dental Saturday Morning Community Clinics. 

After many years of suffering with teeth that caused physical and emotional pain, Vietnam War veteran Robert Bennett finally received the care his smile needed at the Sgt. Clint Ferrin Memorial Clinic, one of four dental clinics that make up the UNLV Delta Dental Saturday Morning Community Clinics. 

This is what Robert had to say to UNLV about his experience at the clinic:

“It’s not only [that I was] happy with the care, it’s the professionalism that goes along with it — it’s the way you’re treated from the time you walk through the door, to the time that you get into the chair. And then the doctors that oversee what [the dental students] do and help, they come up constantly, and they introduce themselves and let you know what you’re going to be going through. 

[They] had to surgically remove almost every tooth in my mouth, or what was left of my teeth. [After receiving treatment and a full set of dentures,] I’m eating and smiling and communicating with people again. It changes your life. I mean it just gives you your dignity back. You are somebody again. And I get to apply again for a job. Look what they did!”

Robert Bennett, Vietnam War veteran

Robert’s story is especially meaningful to us at Delta Dental. Last year, The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation granted $50,000 to support these clinics, which provide much needed dental care to underinsured and uninsured people throughout Southern Nevada.

Successes like this are the reason the Foundation exists — to improve health and enhance lives in the communities we serve. We’re so grateful for partners like the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, who give us opportunities like this one to make a real difference.


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Do you have a project that qualifies for funding? Visit the Foundation’s section of our website to learn more and apply for funding.

The surprising ways a smile keeps hearts pumping

2‑minute read

No matter employees’ opinions about Valentine’s Day, the holiday gives you a chance to remind your workforce to take care of their hearts — both physically and emotionally. Promoting oral health is a great place to start. Check out the unexpected ways a healthy smile is linked to a healthy heart.

Physical impact: If the heart was an engine, how would it run? 

Heart disease

Stronger evidence linking periodontal disease with heart disease continues to emerge. Although we can’t yet say the relationship between oral health and heart health is causal, new research suggests that even poor dental hygiene, such as infrequent tooth brushing, may be a risk factor for heart disease.

Hypertension

Hypertension can lead to a host of serious health threats, including heart attacks and heart failure. That’s why managing your blood pressure is so important for heart health. A new study found that those with healthy gums were less likely to have hypertension and responded better to hypertension treatment than those with gum disease. Food for thought.

Emotional impact: The mind thinks but the heart feels.

Relationships

It may be common knowledge that relationships — romantic or platonic — can hold an important place in one’s heart. But did you know that by encouraging good oral health among your workforce, you may also be helping to boost your employees’ relationships? It’s true! According to the 2017 Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA) Adult Oral Health & Well-Being Survey:

  • 74% of people say a smile can make or break a first impression
  • 69% of people say a person’s smile stays top of mind after meeting them
  • 76% of people are more attracted to people who show off their smiles often! 

Self-love

Something as simple as a smile can affect everyone around us, including ourselves. In fact, nearly 60% of adults say good oral health makes them feel confident, according to the DDPA survey. Maybe that’s why adults committed to their oral health are more likely to describe themselves as happy and comfortable in their own skin. Adults who prioritize their oral health are also more likely to give their overall well-being an excellent rating.

For Valentine’s Day, and every day, help protect employees’ hearts with healthy smiles. 

With love,

Delta Dental


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3 ways to help prevent oral cancer

A group high five

2‑minute read

Oral cancer. If you had to guess how common it is, what would you say? Many of us would probably put it near the bottom of the list. Surprisingly, in 2018, together, cancers of the mouth and throat ranked sixth among the most common cancers worldwide While that’s an alarming number, there are steps that you can take to help prevent your workforce from contributing to this tragic statistic. 

1. Debunk the myths

There are a number of misconceptions about oral cancer that can stand in the way of prevention. Help educate your enrollees by providing the facts:

Myth: I’m young — I don’t need to worry about oral cancer.

Fact: Although the risk of oral cancer increases after age 50, more than 25% of diagnoses occur in adults younger than 55. In fact, a growing number of younger people are developing oral cancer, which may be linked to persistent viral infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV). 

Myth: Oral cancer only affects men.

Fact: While it’s true that men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer, women are steadily closing the gap (for decades, oral cancer was six times more common in men than in women). 

Myth: I don’t smoke, so I’m not at risk.

Fact: Yes, smoking is a major risk factor for oral cancer, but it’s not the only one. Excessive alcohol use and sun exposure, even without smoking, can still increase the risk.

2. Encourage regular dentist visits

The early symptoms of oral cancers often go unnoticed, making them particularly dangerous. That’s why encouraging enrollees to have regular dental exams is so important. Dentists and dental hygienists may be able to identify the signs and symptoms of oral cancers when they’re still in the early or even pre-cancerous stages.

Cancer screening is a part of any comprehensive adult screening with a Delta Dental dentist. This screening is noninvasive and doesn’t involve radiation.

3. Share the risks and warning signs

Awareness is the key to prevention. That’s why we’ve created shareable resources to help you spread the word about oral cancer on our SmileWay® Wellness site. Encourage your enrollees to check out these articles:


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How to respect enrollee (data) privacy

Woman using laptop and looking at her smartphone

2‑minute read

According to a recent survey, 90% of people worry about their data privacy, yet most feel powerless to protect it. We don’t want you to feel this way when it comes to your enrollees’ data. While Delta Dental has cyber risk experts and safeguards in place to keep enrollee data secure when we’re handling it — including personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) — you can take some simple steps to keep enrollee data private when it’s in your hands too. 

We asked some of our cyber risk specialists for their top tips to help you safeguard private enrollee data.

Keep (and share) only what’s needed

The more private enrollee data you have, the bigger the risk. If the data has already served its purpose and there isn’t an operational or legal need for it, it’s best to destroy it. The same principal applies when sharing sensitive information — send the minimum amount needed to get the job done. 

Slow down, and check before you send

Before you transmit any private enrollee data, double check that you’re sending the correct information to the correct recipient. This may sound like common sense, but one of the most common types of privacy incidents is sending sensitive data to the wrong person — electronically or via snail mail. Be sure that you have the most current enrollee addresses, and always update any necessary partners who may also need them (like us!).

Build a strong virtual defense

Password protection is a key player, but it’s just one part of the privacy defense. Using a VPN for remote access, maintaining strong firewalls and conducting regular vulnerability scans are also crucial to data privacy. If you’re sending any sensitive data through email, be sure to do so safely, such as through secure file transfer processes (SFTPs). And don’t forget about that data when it’s not in transit — using encryption for data at rest adds an extra layer of defense. (Pro-tip: Never store private, sensitive data in your email.)

Empower yourself and your team

Data privacy can seem overwhelming without the right training. Cyber risks are always evolving, like phishing scams that have gotten so advanced, it’s difficult for most people to spot a fake. That’s why it’s so important for anyone who handles PII or PHI to receive regular training to identify threats and keep enrollee private data safe.


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Brightening smiles and futures in 2018

The holiday season, often referred to as the “season of giving”, is winding down. But why limit giving to a couple months out of the year? Thanks to some incredible organizations and charities, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation* donated nearly $16 million to support more than 400 projects throughout 2018, each with the goal of building healthier, happier communities. 

As the year comes to an end, we’d like to thank these partners, and highlight just a few of the great projects we had the opportunity to sponsor in 2018. Take a look. 

Click map to enlarge.

We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings! In the years to come, we pledge to give at least 10% of our net income back to charitable organizations aligned with our purpose: Creating smiles. Improving health. Enhancing lives.®

If you have a project you want sponsored, learn about our funding options and apply on the Community Center section of our website.

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*The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is the philanthropic arm of our Delta Dental enterprise. It provides funding and support to advance research, education and access to dental care across our enterprise. Our Delta Dental enterprise includes these companies in these states: Delta Dental of California — CA, Delta Dental of the District of Columbia — DC, Delta Dental of Pennsylvania — PA & MD, Delta Dental of West Virginia, Inc. — WV, Delta Dental of Delaware, Inc. — DE, Delta Dental of New York, Inc. — NY, Delta Dental Insurance Company — AL, DC, FL, GA, LA, MS, MT, NV, TX and UT. All of our companies are members, or affiliates of members, of the Delta Dental Plans Association.

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