You finally did it. You’re out of the house. A free man or woman blazing your own trail with no parents or grandparents telling you what to do and when to do it.
It feels good, doesn’t it?
But we want to give you a friendly warning. With all of this newfound freedom also comes a lot of challenges. You may be surprised how simple things, such as making sure you’ve got toilet paper, peanut butter, or soda in the dorm or your apartment, now fall square on your shoulders.
The same is true with dental hygiene. Maybe for years your Mom or Dad has scheduled your dental appointments for you and you really didn’t have to do anything but show up. On top of that, they were really on you about brushing and flossing.
However, now that you’re out of the house, Mom and Dad won’t be looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing these things. You have to take ownership of your health and dental hygiene is a big part of that.
After all, oral hygiene is about more than just white teeth; keeping your gums healthy is essential to your overall health and wellness. Establishing good habits at a young age will serve you well for the rest of your life.
With that said, here are 7 things that any college student needs to do to ensure they are taking the very best care of their teeth when Mom and Dad aren’t there to make them!
1: Care About Your Overall Appearance
Just because you can wear sweatpants to class and take a shower once every three days while you’re in college doesn’t mean you should. While it’s certainly understandable that you want to enjoy your newfound freedom, it’s still important to care about your overall appearance.
We’re not saying you have to go to class in business attire, but you probably shouldn’t be wearing your sweatpants or PJs to class! After all, first impressions are important and you want to make the best impression you can on your fellow students, professors, etc.
Of course, taking care of your teeth is an extremely important part of personal hygiene. Students who care about their overall appearance in college tend to take care of their teeth and gums, as well.
2: Don’t Skimp on Brushing (Even When It’s Late and You Don’t Feel Like It)
Sometimes it gets late, you’ve been studying (or partying) hard, and you just feel like going to bed. Sure brushing your teeth only takes 2-3 minutes, but it seems like such a hassle. It won’t hurt if you skip brushing every now and then, right?
In theory, if you were to skip brushing just one night, it likely wouldn’t have any significant impact on your overall health and well-being. However, with that being said, one night may turn into every other night, and before you know it, you’re only brushing your teeth once per day in the morning.
This isn’t good. Ideally, you should brush your teeth 2-3 times per day. Brushing only once per day and thinking gum or mouthwash will take care of the rest just doesn’t cut it.
One of the most important things to understand is that it is very, very easy to fall into bad habits while in college. As long as you’re brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once, you can lessen your chances of developing bad oral care habits.
3: Floss like a Boss
One of the keys to keeping your teeth and gums healthy is flossing daily. While flossing is easy and only takes a minute, it’s overlooked by millions of Americans every day, including many college students.
Here’s a short article with video on what the ADA has to say in regards to flossing: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing
Flossing is an easy way to protect yourself against plaque buildup, gum disease, and cavities. By brushing and flossing every day, you’re likely saving yourself a lot of money on expensive dental work down the road!
4: Limit Your Sodas or “Adult Beverages” (This Will Help Your Overall Health, Too)
As a dental practice, we recommend that you drink mostly water, as it doesn’t have sugars and other harmful chemicals that can negatively impact your oral health.
That being said, we understand that college students drink a lot of sodas and even a few adult beverages (you better be 21, though!). We’re not saying you can’t drink these drinks (let’s be realistic here), but what we are saying is they can do damage to your teeth if not consumed in moderation.
5: Invest in Organizing your Oral Care Essentials
When you’re living away from home the first time, it can be quite easy to become disorganized. If you can’t find your toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash when you’re ready to use it, then well, it’s hard to use it!
At Shining Smiles, we recommend that college students keep all of their dental care items in a small, easy-to-carry case or pouch. This may not be a big issue if you’re living in an apartment and have your own bathroom, but if you live in a dorm or share an apartment with multiple roommates, you’ve got to keep your dental care items organized.
Not only do you want to avoid losing or misplacing them, but you certainly don’t want anyone else using your stuff…gross!
6: Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools
When you’re in a dorm, you probably don’t have as many tools (kitchen utensils, accessories, etc.) as Mom or Dad has in their kitchen. As a result, far too many college students resort to using their teeth as tools, which is a really bad idea.
If you ever find yourself needing to open something and you don’t have the right tool for the job, then you’ve got 2 options:
Borrow what you need from a friend in your apartment or down the hall
Forget about it
Do not, under any circumstances, use your teeth to open anything!
7: Find a Dental Practice Near Your College That You Like
Whether you’re looking for a dentist near Kennesaw State or you go to another college in the area (Shining Smiles Family Dentistry is located in Marietta - formerly located in Powder Springs), it’s very important to find a dentist and staff that you really love.
Not all dentist offices are dull places that are out of touch with college students; we’re certainly not! If you’re looking for a dentist in the Kennesaw or Marietta area for yourself or if you have a child in college, visit our team page below:
You can also read more about Dr. Mohip here: https://www.shiningsmilesga.com/meet-dr-shaila-mohip/
Now that we’ve given you some great advice on taking care of your teeth while you’re in college, make sure you follow these tips.
College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You gain more independence and you learn a lot about yourself. We want you to have fun, stay safe, and develop healthy oral habits so that your teeth and gums remain healthy for years to come.
Again, if you attend Kennesaw State or any other college northwest of Atlanta, give our office a call today to schedule an appointment!