How to Keep Healthy Teeth at College or University
Congratulations! You’ve finished your high school education, submitted applications to your preferred colleges or universities, and gained admission to a post-secondary school. Soon, you’ll move out of the house and begin the first chapter of your adult life. Even though you will be busy with your post secondary activities you will still have to take the time to Keep Healthy Teeth at College.
However, as you may know, college and university students face a number of different health risks. You’ve probably heard of the “freshman 15,” or the weight that most students gain after so many hours of sitting, stressing, and studying. You know that some students don’t sleep enough, so their immune systems suffer as a result.
But did you know that your post-secondary education can also affect your dental health? Below, we’ve outlined some of the risks you need to watch for as you begin your studies.
1. Foods with High Sugar Content
You already know sugar feeds the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria then produce acids that break through your teeth’s enamel, resulting in painful decay. And even though you may avoid desserts and other sweets, you will probably consume more sugar than you ever did at home.
How? Think of the cheap foods you’ll have to buy with your limited income. Boxed pasta, soup cups, frozen meals, and other related food items often contain a lot of processed sugar and carbohydrates. Not only will these foods contribute to the “freshman 15,” but they’ll increase your risk for cavities as well.
If possible, stick to foods you make from scratch, and fill your meals with vegetables, proteins, and low-fat dairy products. But if your budget doesn’t allow for homemade meals, rinse your mouth with water after eating to wash away the sugars.
2. Caffeinated Beverages
Few students survive midterms or finals without support from coffee, energy drinks, or caffeinated soda. These drinks boost attention span and concentration, and they erase some of the strain from hours of studying. However, these drinks contain sugar, and they have a lot of acid as well.
As mentioned above, sugar feeds your mouth’s bacteria, which produce acid as they metabolize. Add soda’s citric acid to the mix, and you have a recipe for tooth decay.
The caffeine in these beverages doesn’t help either. Caffeine constricts your blood vessels, including the vessels in your mouth, which means you produce less saliva and your immune system can’t reach your oral tissues. You need saliva to wash bacteria and toxins out of your mouth. Without saliva or your immune system to protect your tissues, you could develop gum disease and cavities.
To avoid these problems, drink water instead and do your best to catch up on your sleep. But if you must drink caffeine, rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
3. Alcoholic Beverages
You’ve reached legal drinking age, and you and your friends will likely celebrate birthdays, exams, and other occasions with a few drinks. However, as you celebrate, keep in mind that alcohol dehydrates your body, constricting your blood vessels. As outlined above, your immune system and your saliva production decrease as your veins and arteries constrict.
Drink sparingly, and when you do, remember to rinse your mouth so the sugars and acids in your beverage don’t wreak havoc on your teeth.
4. Last-Minute, Late-Night Studies
Think of the papers and science projects you finished in your high school career. Did any of them keep you up into the wee hours of the morning? And did you go straight to bed afterward without brushing your teeth or putting on your pajamas? You’ll likely have this experience more often as you pursue your post-secondary education.
If you skip your regular nighttime routine in favor of completing assignments, your teeth could suffer as a result. They need regular brushing and flossing to stay healthy.
If you know you’ll stay up late, Keep Healthy Teeth at College by brushing and flossing before you begin your studies so you don’t forget.
5. Missed Morning Alarms
Your studies could also make you feel so tired that you miss your alarms, so you rush out the door without showering, combing your hair, or brushing your teeth.
As you already know, you need to brush your teeth every morning in addition to the evenings to maintain a healthy smile.
To avoid this problem, keep spare mouthwash, toothpaste, and a toothbrush in your backpack. You may have time for a quick cleaning between classes.
6. Busy Schedules
As you attend a college or university, you still have to make time for regular dental visits. Your dentist gives your teeth a deeper clean than your toothbrush can, and he or she also checks for developing dental problems you couldn’t find on your own.
Call Dentrix Dental Care in Northwest Calgary – our dental clinics are open on Saturday!
7. Keep Healthy Teeth at College with No Dental Insurance
Normally, you have the ability to stay on your parents’ insurance until your mid-twenties. And even if you don’t, your school may offer a student health plan. Make sure you have insurance so you don’t miss dental visits.
After you Keep Healthy Teeth at College and when you leave the nest and begin your adult life, don’t forget to take care of your teeth. Use the tips above to start or call our Northwest Calgary dentists at Dentrix Dental Care.