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January's #PEXCardChat with Dr. Gerry Curatola - Workforce Productivity

Dr. Gerald P. Curatola is a renowned aesthetic dentist and pioneer in the emerging field of rejuvenation dentistry, which improves patients’ overall health and appearance by integrating total wellness with cutting edge oral care and restorative procedures. In addition to his private practice, research, and work as a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU College of Dentistry, he is an internationally sought after speaker, author and expert who has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. For more information please visit http://rejuvdentist.com/. The goal of this month’s #PEXCardChat was to help business owners increase workforce productivity by focusing on the engine that drives their companies—their employees!

PEX Card: What is the state of wellness among employees in America’s businesses?

Dr. Gerry Curatola:  Not good! Very unimpressive in fact. Influenza alone can wipe out a NY office building in one week. We need to do a better job in aggressively promoting preventive nutrition, exercise and stress management. Lastly, good oral hygiene is the front line of defense against most illnesses and viruses.

PEX Card: As an entrepreneur, you can relate to the hectic lifestyle of biz owners. What advice can you give them?

Dr. Curatola: You MUST take the time to live a healthy, well life. If you don’t, you will break down at some point. There is nothing worse than seeing a successful entrepreneur dealing with a preventable illness or chronic condition. Living a healthy life also means leading by example. Hopefully your employees follow suit.

PEX Card: We posted your blog on www.pexcard.com about the tie between gum disease and Alzheimer's. What can you tell us about it?

Dr. Curatola: In one study, patients with poor oral hygiene had a 65% higher risk of developing dementia compared to those who had good oral hygiene. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirms the connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $214 billion today.

PEX Card: How much is workforce productivity suffering as a result of employees & biz owners not taking care of themselves?

Dr. Curatola: The negative impact of poor health in the workplace is costing companies billions of dollars every year.  In a Workforce Management magazine survey, 77% of employees said that health & wellness programs positively impact the culture at work. As a business owner, you can’t just look at revenue, expenses and finding new clients. Spend time and money on the engine that is driving your business—your employees!

PEX Card: Let’s talk about fixing the problem. Give us some examples of how wellness programs can increase workforce productivity.

Dr. Curatola: The absenteeism rates go way down when you institute wellness programs in your company. Energy levels don’t go up and down like a roller coaster which means employees become more productive. It makes no sense for companies NOT to invest in the health of their employees. You get a very positive return on investment.

PEX Card: Those are fantastic examples. What else—what about the foods we eat?

Dr. Curatola: Look at the food your employees eat on a daily basis—processed foods, lots of starches. Almost all of it BAD! The food we eat is the fuel that runs the engines in our bodies. Cheap food = Cheap Fuel!! Better food selection at work will have a direct impact on your bottom line through increased productivity. It’s a no-brainer!

PEX Card: Exercise is also a key component to a healthy workforce. Can we get employees to eat healthy, exercise and maintain good oral care?

Dr. Curatola: Yes! Show employees the benefits of doing all three and maybe give them incentives for living a healthier lifestyle. Promote daily breaks in the morning and afternoon, and walking at lunch. Buy them FitBits so they can monitor their progress.  You can have monthly contests—who took the most steps in a month. And it goes without saying that your mouth is the gatekeeper to your body’s health.

PEX Card: This has really been informative. Do you have any final suggestions or advice for people following our chat?

Dr. Curatola: Don’t make living a healthier lifestyle one of your New Year’s resolutions. It’s too easy to break and not sustainable. The best time to start living a better life is right now—today! Allow everyone in your company to make suggestions and participate in ways to increase workforce productivity. Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that irreversible damage could be right around the corner. Make the changes NOW!

PEX Card: Thanks once again to Dr. Gerry Curatola for being our guest today. Great tips for business owners! Follow him on Twitter (www.twitter.com/DrGerryCuratola) for more advice. Thanks also to Brian Moran for co-hosting today’s TweetChat. We will see you next month for another edition of #PEXCardChat. Thanks everyone!

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