Layoffs Impact Oral Health: Why Onsite Dental Care Should Be Part of Your Outplacement Strategy

Layoffs and unemployment can have a profound effect on the oral health of displaced workers. Stable employment contributes to early intervention for dental problems. However, once steady income streams and benefits disappear, people are less likely to prioritize regular dental visits to save costs – they’re also more likely to engage in unhealthy habits that impact oral hygiene. If companies are facing the prospect of mass layoffs, and have a solid outplacement plan in place, including an onsite dental solution can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of the transition for workers. 

Layoffs: A Growing Reality for Employers and Employees

No business facing economic downturns is eager to discuss the prospect of cutting jobs, but it’s a conversation that must take place. Employers announced 90,309 cuts in March, up 7% from the 84,638 cuts announced in February, according to data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a firm that specializes in outplacement, executive coaching, and leadership development. Experts predict that many more positions will be slashed before the end of 2024 across various industries.

According to reporting by the Associated Press, Business Insider, and USA Today, this summer will see ongoing trends in layoff activity. These are just a few examples.

  • Google: The Alphabet-owned company has continued to lay off employees in 2024, though at a more gradual pace than in 2023.
  • Nike: The sportswear company announced that it would permanently cut 740 jobs, or 2% of its workforce, at its World Headquarters starting June 28, 2024.
  • FedEx: The company filed WARN Act notices in April 2024 announcing that it would close four facilities in Florida in 2024, resulting in the layoffs of 220 couriers and eight managers.

John Deere: Layoffs Spike as Sales Decline

We typically associate mass layoffs these days with the tech industry, but no sector is truly immune from economic shifts and pressure from investors. John Deere, one of the most recognized and enduring brands in farming equipment, shed 650 positions, a stark reflection of the current agriculture economy.

“According to the Iowa Workforce Development website, the John Deere facility in Waterloo will be laying off 192 employees effective June 21, which follows layoffs of 123 at three Iowa facilities on June 6,” wrote Tom Venesky in his coverage of John Deere’s layoffs for Lancaster Farming. “Ninety employees were laid off by John Deere in Iowa in late April and early May, and 368 were laid off through April at the Waterloo and Des Moines plants.”

John Deere is a major employer in these areas, and the job losses – though smaller in number than what we’re accustomed to seeing from big tech companies – represent a significant impact on local communities. Here’s where the story takes an interesting turn. 

According to 6 KWQC, a local Iowa news outlet, a dental practice in the area stepped up to offer help for laid off employees before their insurance benefits end. Services include flexible scheduling, check-ups, consultations, and any dental procedure. It was a fantastic gesture, but companies themselves can do more – and the solution already exists. 

Dental Care Should Be Part of Your Outplacement Process

At Dentists on Demand, we specialize in portable onsite dental solutions for employers. Bringing the dentist to your office is a convenient and simple way to overcome obstacles that employees too often confront in accessing dental care. Preventing avoidable oral health problems is the best way to prevent lost productivity from absences caused by dental emergencies, while ensuring the overall well-being of your workforce. But what happens when that talent faces the threat of layoffs and unemployment? Incorporating onsite dental pop-ups into your outplacement process is a crucial yet overlooked step.

How Layoffs and Unemployment Affect Oral Health

Layoffs can have a significant impact on oral health through several pathways:

  • Stress and Anxiety: Losing a job often leads to increased stress and anxiety, which can manifest in various ways that negatively affect oral health. Stress can cause people to grind their teeth (bruxism), which can lead to tooth damage, jaw pain, and headaches. Additionally, stress can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to oral infections like gum disease.
  • Changes in Oral Hygiene Habits: The stress and lifestyle changes that come with unemployment can disrupt regular routines, including oral hygiene practices. People may neglect brushing and flossing their teeth as frequently, which can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
  • Dietary Changes: Financial constraints may force individuals to alter their diets, often leading to increased consumption of inexpensive, processed foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients. These dietary changes can increase the risk of tooth decay and other oral health issues.
  • Reduced Access to Dental Care: Loss of employment often means loss of dental insurance, making it difficult for individuals to afford regular dental checkups and necessary treatments. This can result in untreated dental issues, which can escalate into more severe problems over time.
  • Mental Health Impact: The emotional toll of being laid off can lead to depression and other mental health issues. Poor mental health is associated with neglect of self-care, including oral hygiene. People experiencing depression may have less motivation to maintain their oral health, leading to deteriorating conditions.
  • Substance Use: Some individuals may turn to smoking, alcohol, or other substances as a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress and anxiety of unemployment. These substances can have detrimental effects on oral health, such as increasing the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay.

The Right Way to Conduct Layoffs

There are right and wrong ways of conducting layoffs. What we read in the news usually illustrates the missteps and blunders, including surprise emails, out-of-the-blue group announcements on corporate messaging platforms, lack of planning, and no strategic direction. The end result is chaos and bad press.

When layoffs are performed correctly, organizations rely on transparency and offer assistance. Here are some examples of best practices. 

  • Severance Packages: A severance package can help reduce the impact of layoffs on employees. This could include financial payments or non-monetary options, such as paying for health insurance for a period of time.
  • Outplacement Support: Outplacement services can show employees that the company is still supporting them after they leave, which can help build trust and loyalty among remaining employees. This could include career counseling or job placement services.
  • Communications: Develop a formal communication document that outlines the reasons for the layoffs, the selection process, and available resources. Communicate early and often, keeping employees informed of developments over time.
  • Appreciation: Showing appreciation for employees’ hard work and contributions is especially important during difficult times.

But there’s something important missing from this list: employee health and wellness.

Including Dental Care in Your Outplacement Efforts

There’s no set policy or legal regulation that dictates how long benefits remain active after an employee is terminated. Company policies generally end coverage on either the last day of work or, more generously, within a month. After that, most former employees will need to enroll in COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), a type of health coverage that allows them to stay on their employer’s plan for 18 to 36 months, or seek out marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act, available through

Essentially, though, employees are left to fend for themselves. This is where an onsite dental pop-up can become an instrumental part of their transition, emphasizing appreciation and support. 

A layoff should not be a surprise. Unpleasant as the situation is, companies should offer transparency, advanced notice, and detailed information on the steps involved. Develop a formal outplacement plan that outlines all available resources. One of those resources should be scheduled onsite dental pop-ups where employees can receive preventative care (e.g., x-rays, check-ups, cleanings) and treatment recommendations. 

If problems are detected, employees can resolve them while their benefits are still active, ensuring that they will not experience dental emergencies during their search for new work.

Dentists on Demand Can Help

After the layoff announcement is issued and the dates are determined, Dentists on Demand can help you schedule a series of onsite pop-ups to cover all team members who will be departing. We partner with clients to promote awareness of the pop-ups through the creation of a branded microsite that markets the service to employees and informs them of everything they need to know in advance.

  • We handle the setup and breakdown of our mobile dental suite and all equipment. We utilize the latest technologies in teledentistry, digital imaging, the highest-end portable equipment, and sterilization processes that are rated at hospital grade.
  • We provide access to CUSPID, our proprietary dental technology platform, which enables employees to manage everything from booking appointments to accessing their own patient records and more.
  • With all Dental PPO plans, our preventative services are covered at 100%, promoting the utilization of a benefit that is completely subsidized yet under-utilized. 
  • We customize our solutions to meet the unique needs of your employees, work culture, and site requirements. We also work with plan administrators and carriers to develop lists of in-network providers that we can refer employees to when additional treatment is recommended, prior to the end of their benefits coverage.

Learn more about how our portable onsite dental solutions can help your workforce thrive, even when their journeys with your organization are moving in a different direction. Or schedule a pop-up today.

Scroll to Top