Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

Tag: overall health

Common questions employees may have about the COVID-19 vaccine

As the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more accessible throughout the country, you may find that employees are talking about it and asking questions. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of conflicting and inaccurate information being spread through various media channels. Staying on top of the truth can be a full-time job, but here’s a list of common questions and some points you can bring up in case you hear concerns about the vaccine.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. Multiple expert sources, such as the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have attested to the vaccines’ safety. There are multiple reasons given why someone might be concerned about the vaccine’s safety, but the most common include:

  • Concerns about catching COVID-19 from a vaccine shot. There is no live virus used in the vaccines, so people who receive them can’t contract COVID-19.
  • Concerns about the vaccine damaging cells’ DNA. mRNA vaccines don’t alter cell DNA. Instead, they teach cells how to make a protein, which generates a response that will help the immune system target identical proteins in the COVID-19 coronavirus.
  • Concerns about the vaccines being developed recklessly or too quickly. The vaccines have been tested on tens of thousands of patients. Pfizer and Moderna have published ingredient lists for their vaccines, and the mRNA technology used to make the vaccines has been in development for over 30 years.

I’ve heard reports of people having aches, chills and other symptoms after getting vaccinated. Is this an issue?

No. Some people who have gotten the vaccine have reported muscle pain, chills and headaches, but that is not unusual for vaccines. These are part of the body’s normal immune response. But those who have had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past (which are due to the ingredients used in the vaccines), should first consult with their health care providers before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Should I still get a vaccine if I’ve had COVID-19 previously?

Yes. It’s not clear if having contracted COVID-19 previously grants long-term resistance and immunity, like having contracted chicken pox does. Even for those who have been infected previously, the CDC still recommends getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 doesn’t seem that deadly. Should I get a vaccine if I’m not in a high-risk category?

Yes. It’s true that as a percentage, most people who contract COVID-19 don’t die from it. Still, there can be serious long-term consequences such as lung, heart or brain damage. And even someone who doesn’t get seriously ill can still spread the disease among others who are more vulnerable. Getting a vaccine helps us protect not just our families and loved ones, but also society as a whole.

Once I’ve been vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask or socially distance?

Yes. Even if a person has been vaccinated, that doesn’t mean that he or she can’t still spread the virus. It takes at least 10 days for the body to develop antibodies to the virus, and the number of antibodies present only goes up with more time. Additionally, research hasn’t conclusively determined if the vaccines prevent asymptomatic infection and spread (although it is likely that they do). Wearing a mask and socially distancing are also good behaviors to model for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet. By getting vaccinated and following other preventive measures, we can all do our part to end the pandemic sooner!

I’ve heard that the vaccine contains a chip inside that lets the government and corporations track people who get vaccinated. Is this true?

No. Some syringe makers include a microchip within the labels of their products so that health care providers can track the shipping history and origin of doses of vaccine. There is no chip within the vaccine itself.

I heard that the vaccine targets a protein that occurs naturally in pregnant women and can cause fertility issues. Is this true?

No. An amino acid sequence is shared between COVID-19 and a placental protein found in pregnant women, but the sequence is too short to trigger an immune response by itself. COVID-19 vaccines won’t cause fertility issues in women.

6 ways to help your enrollees overcome their dental phobia

3‑minute read

Fear of the dentist is a very real thing. In fact, it has been suggested that dental phobia prevents between 9–20% of Americans from visiting the dentist. And, because oral health plays an important role in a person’s well-being, and overall wellness can influence workplace productivity, imagine the potential impact if 20% or even 10% of your workforce ignored dental care due to fear.

While those stats might sound scary, we’ve got good news. There are plenty of ways to help ease your enrollees’ fear, and we’ve rounded up some of the top tips to share.

1. Share experiences

With so many people having the same fear, people shouldn’t feel stigmatized. Encourage enrollees to ask others how they overcame their fear and to share positive experiences with each other. Think of it like enrollees building up an armor of positivity to protect them when they walk into a dentist’s office.

2. Talk to the dentist

Most dentists can sense a patient’s fear, and they want to help. According to Dr. Leigh Westee, a Delta Dental consultant who treated patients for 21 years, “It’s better when patients are upfront about their fears, because we can make a plan to help them relax before things even get started. We really don’t enjoy the reputation of being scary.” She suggests asking the dentist to walk the patient through every step, and to have a cue in case any discomfort is felt, such as raising a hand.

3. Bring distractions and friends

Dr. Westee also recommends patients bring something or someone to help them relax. Headphones and music are a good option because not only can a favorite song lift spirits, it can also tune out the sounds of dental tools. Another helpful idea is to bring a close friend or family member who is confident about visiting the dentist, and can be a strong calming force. Oftentimes, they can even sit with patients during a dental exam or procedure — but be sure enrollees ask the dental office first.

4. Start young and make it fun

Because many dental fears stem from a bad experience early on, Dr. Westee points out how important it is to create positive memories when children visit the dentist. She advises that parents never use dental visits as a punishment. More often than you’d think she heard things like “the dentist is going to give you a shot if you don’t settle down.” Instead of that, encourage enrollees with children to make dental visits fun by building up the choices kids get to make — such as flavors of toothpaste and toothbrush colors.

5. Exercise before visits

Can a few miles on the treadmill before a dentist visit decrease fear? In addition to boosting overall wellness, it has recently been suggested that moderate-intensity exercise prior to a dental visit can help decrease dental anxiety.

6. Seek help

When patients’ fear is so strong that they cannot bring themselves to an appointment, it can seriously impact their oral health. If this is the case for any of your employees, encourage them to seek help from a professional counselor right away. The longer a person waits to visit the dentist, the greater the chance more dental work will be needed.

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Extra periodontal cleaning can lead to healthier babies

While the relationship between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes is still being explored, good oral health during pregnancy can give babies a healthy head start. And with Delta Dental, your employees can do exactly that.

A mother’s health greatly impacts her baby, and oral health is no exception. Expectant mothers with poor oral health may be at higher risk of pre-term delivery and of passing disease-causing bacteria to their child. Women with untreated dental decay or gum disease during pregnancy and after delivery are likely to transmit the bacteria that cause these infections to their babies.1 2 That’s why it’s a smart move for your employees to get a dentist recommendation to take advantage of Delta Dental’s additional cleaning during pregnancy. Not only can additional cleanings reduce bacteria, it’s a great opportunity for expectant mothers to learn healthy oral habits they can instill in their children.

Extra cleanings can help expectant mothers improve their oral health, and in turn, encourage their dependents to develop healthy habits from the start. From pregnancy to any one of life’s stages, we have plenty of resources that make it easy for your employees to practice healthy oral habits.

  • Visit our SmileWay® Wellness site for downloadable flyers, posters and booklets you can share with enrollees.
  • Encourage enrollees to Subscribe to Grin!, our free oral health e‑magazine, which offers advice that’s both fun and useful.

1 Benjamin Chaffee, et. al. Maternal oral bacteria levels predict early childhood caries development. Journal of Dental Research 93, no. 3. March 2014; 238–244.

2 Snyder, Andrew. Oral health and the triple aim: evidence and strategies to improve care and reduce costs. National Academy for State Health Policy. April 2015; 4.

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