Let’s get straight to the point. In college, your oral health care routine should not change. You should still brush your teeth twice a day, and floss once a day. You should visit your dentist for regular cleanings – once every 6 months is best for most people. You should go see your dentist anytime you have sudden pains or other signs of oral health problems.
But let’s be honest – this is college we’re talking about. The chances are pretty high that your diet consists of ramen and beer, and that you’re spending late nights studying (or partying), and rushing to get to class in the morning.
With that in mind, here are some dental care tips for college students that we think will actually be useful to you:
Keep oral health supplies in your backpack
You just hit snooze on your alarm for the 4th time – this is the alarm that you’ve aptly named “IF YOU DON’T GET UP NOW YOU’RE DEFINITELY GOING TO BE LATE FOR CLASS” in your phone. You wake up 10 minutes later.
There’s no time to do much more than throw on a sweater and a pair of jeans, let alone brush your teeth. But if you have some toothpaste and a toothbrush in your backpack, along with some floss and a pack of sugar-free gum, you’ll be able to keep your teeth healthy. And if anyone looks at you funny as you brush your teeth in a public bathroom, just tell them you’re doing an experiment for your psychology class. They’ll back right off.
Drinking and brushing
Can you drink 8 beers, crash, then wake up without a headache? Enjoy that while it lasts, but let us give you a piece of advice that will definitely help you once you’re out of college:
Drink a whole glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you imbibe.
That’ll help keep you hydrated – which becomes more relevant as you get older. And while, apparently, the notion that drinking water will help you avoid hangovers is a myth, anecdotally, it’s helpful.
And in terms of your oral health, it’ll help prevent sugars from sticking to your teeth and developing into plaque.
Brushing at night
It’s really important to brush your teeth twice a day. It’s also pretty important to avoid brushing your teeth until at least 20-30 minutes after you’ve eaten. Obviously, more than one night in college ends with a late night snack or meal, followed immediately by sleep.
If you can, brush your teeth before you go to bed, even if you just ate. While it’s not optimal, it’s better than nothing. And if you don’t think you’ll have time to brush your teeth before bed, consider brushing your teeth in the middle of the day, or before you go out. It’s not as ideal as brushing before bed, but it’s better than nothing.
Have a dentist on campus
Not everyone has the benefit of a dental office right on campus – but if you go to the University of Alberta, you’re in luck. Our U of A dental office is located right on campus, so if you’ve got a toothache or need a cleaning, come see us between classes!
We have plenty of other dental tips for college students, so if you liked this article, let us know, and we’ll give you more tips! All the best to you this semester.