College comes with a certain freedom that may cause us to take up bad habits. Some of these bad habits could affect your dental health if you’re not careful. Below are just a few tips for looking after your teeth while at college.
Register with your local dentist
Ideally, we should all be seeing a dentist once or twice a day for a checkup. By registering with a local dental surgery while at college, you can continue to keep up with dental visits. This could also be important if you need to get emergency treatment.
Consider teeth straightening
If you haven’t already had braces, you could use your time at college as the perfect opportunity to invest in teeth straightening. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, helping to prevent tooth decay. The likes of invisalign are very popular nowadays – unlike traditional metal braces, they’re completely invisible. Is invisalign right for you? You may have to check with an orthodontist as to whether you are eligible, but for most people it is an option.
Keep up good brushing habits
If you previously brushed your teeth twice a day, try to continue this routine at college. Brushing twice a day will help to remove plaque and keep your teeth healthy. As soon as you start skipping brushing or brushing at night, you increase the risk of developing tooth decay.
Go easy on the sugary snacks and drinks
It’s no secret that sugar is terrible for our teeth. Sugar provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria in our mouths – if you’re eating lots of sugary snacks and drinking lots of soft drinks, you’ll be allowing bacteria to thrive. Without parents watching over us, many of us can adopt unhealthy diets at college – which could include lots of candy and soft drinks. Try to limit your sugar consumption so that you’re not wrecking your teeth.
Watch your alcohol intake
If you’re partying a lot at college, you should bear in mind that your alcohol consumption could be damaging your teeth. Alcohol dehydrates us, drying out the mouth and allowing bacteria to thrive. Wines, dark spirits and mixers like coke will meanwhile stain your teeth. If you do have a heavy night of drinking, make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly before going to bed and try to drink lots of water.
Smoking stains the teeth and causes bad breath. It can also increase your risk of developing gum disease and oral cancer. You could argue that it’s worse for your teeth than sugar – and definitely a habit you want to quit. Fortunately, fewer young adults are choosing to smoke. However, in some social settings, you may still find that you’re peer pressured into smoking – try to be vigilant about not smoking and avoid places where you may be tempted (such as smoking areas outside bars and restaurants).