The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America says its dental plans will now cover cosmetic teeth whitening.

Guardian, New York, also said it has expanded its coverage of periodontal maintenance cleanings.

The company says the teeth-whitening upgrade was in response to demand from clients and brokers. It notes that the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports that teeth whitening is the number 1 requested cosmetic service today.

Guardian also notes that an estimated 80% of American adults have some form of periodontal disease, citing a 2006 report by the National Institutes of Health report. The disease can lead to high blood sugar, heart disease and premature births, the company notes.

Its new plan gives employers the option of offering employees up to 4 periodontal maintenance cleanings per year, regardless of medical conditions. Traditionally, a physician’s certification that the employee has a disease with a known correlation to periodontal disease is required to qualify for more than 2 to 3 cleanings in a year, Guardian points out.