Learn Healthy Dental Habits in College

Woman Smoking Cigarette College is a place where many young adults go to learn, grow, and establish themselves as young adults.

For many people, college is the doorway to adulthood, where you discover your passions and start your career.

Unfortunately, for some young scholars, college is also a place where many of these young adults might skimp on their oral hygiene.

Some clinicians have pinpointed a number of risk factors in college-age students that make them more likely to suffer from tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities.

Today, we want to impart some oral health wisdom on college-aged adults by talking about some of the lifestyle factors that might be harming their teeth and gum health.

4 College Aged Lifestyle Factors That Harm Dental Health

While college is known as a time of learning, it’s also notoriously a time when young adults aged 18-24 make impulsive lifestyle decisions.

College aged students tend to participate in high-risk party behavior that they tend to grow out of once they enter the work force.

The best way for them to prevent dental damage down the line is being knowledgeable on how their choices are impacting their health. Here are some common college aged trends that are bad for oral health:

  • Binge drinking. College partying is synonymous with drinking a lot of alcohol. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that 4 out 5 college students consume alcohol on a regular basis. Half of these students binge drink, which is defined by the CDC as someone who consumes 4-5 drinks in two hours.

    While the occasional drink isn’t bad for your dental health, binge drinking can lead to dental decay from alcohol-induced dry mouth. Not to mention, popular alcoholic drinks tend to be incredibly sugary, combined with late night drinking that leads to passing out rather than brushing – this is a recipe for plaque. Another common consequence of binge drinking is vomiting. Throwing up is horrible for your teeth, as it washes your teeth with stomach acid that dissolves enamel.

  • Smoking. Tobacco and marijuana usage is rampant amongst college-age adults. Smoking is infamously bad for your teeth. It causes dry mouth, dental decay, and gum disease. A survey in 2004 found that 51% of all students claimed to be social smokers.

    The thing about social smoking is that it often evolves into chronic smoking, and even social smoking can put you at risk for oral cancer and dental decay. Hookah is also commonly consumed by college students, under the pretenses that it’s less dangerous that cigarettes. Hookah tobacco is filtered through a water pipe before inhalation, which makes it sound healthier. However, it’s actually much more carcinogenic than cigarettes.Another study found that 33.2% of college students smoke marijuana ever year, and more than 20% used marijuana within the past month. Most college students aren’t aware that one of the effects of chronic marijuana usage is gingival enlargement, which is essentially a drug-induced abnormal gum growth due to inflammation.

  • Oral Piercings. While people of all ages can have an oral piercing, they tend to be more common in young adults. Oral piercings are dental destroyers. They cause tooth fractures, tooth chipping, abrasions, and they harbor bacteria. In fact, people with lip piercings are 7.5 times more likely to have gum recession than those without oral piercings.
  • Diet, Sleep, and Stress. When you’re staying up until 3 am, brooding over a text book, and snacking on Cheetos and Mountain Dew, you’re setting the stage for dental issues.  Not to mention, ramen is much cheaper than healthy choices. That’s why the idiom “the freshman 15” exists, because a lot of college students tend to partake in sugary junk food.

    Not to mention, times of duress like sleep deprivation and stress often lead to a decline in basic oral hygiene. High-stress levels have also been connected to gum inflammation. Highly processed junk food causes tooth decay. College students need to beware of their diet and dental hygiene.

As you can see, young adults at the college age tend to partake in lifestyle choices that aren’t great for their oral health. Through proper education and routine dental visits, we can help educate patients on better lifestyle choices for the sake of their oral health. The way you live today will affect you tomorrow.

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Covid-19 (Corona) Virus

Dear valued patients of Williams Lake Smiles,

Happy New Year to all our patients and friends of Williams Lake Smiles!

There’s just something about a new year! It represents a clean slate, a new beginning for many of us. As we finished up with 2020, we all want to believe that 2021 will bring a sort of relief from much of what the past year has brought us. 

Although there are still many restrictions and hurdles ahead of us, we are all doing our best to prove that we are resilient and focused on brighter and healthier days ahead.

The start of 2021 finds many of us evaluating our health and making plans and potential changes for the year ahead. So, as you are making some New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to add dental care to that list!

Managing your dental health is a key factor of keeping your immune system strong to help protect you against any attack. Just as important as a good diet, rest and exercise, your dental health is something you should not ignore.

Often dental changes can happen with little to no discomfort or warning. Just as changes in the rest of your body happen, it is the same for your teeth and mouth. We all know that age, stress, hormones and busy schedules (just to name a few) sneak up on us and seem to cause changes to our bodies almost overnight. Where you used to be able to eat whatever you wanted, barely exercise and stay up all hours of the night, you might be noticing that you just can’t do that anymore! It is similar with our dental care routine. If you have been doing the same routine for what seems like forever, it might be time to evaluate and change things, even slightly, to be more effective in keeping your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.

Our team at Williams Lake Smiles is here to help make your health a top priority. We look forward to continuing to work with you as life changes happen and want to make dental pain and emergency the smallest challenges possible.

This past year we have been working even harder to make our office a safe, welcoming place for you to visit. You may notice our policies and protocols have changed and will continue to do so based on recommendations from our professional colleges, provincial and local health authorities. Please respect these new policies and understand that some extra screening and time is required in order to achieve this. To keep things running smoothly, it is very important to complete all screening paperwork prior to all visits to our office. If the required paperwork is not completed, we may need to reschedule your appointment time.

Contact our team to schedule a dental appointment to help you be the healthiest you in 2021.

We look forward to seeing you soon,

Dr Rudy Wassenaar and the team at Williams Lake Smiles


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