A 2014 Reddit post titled “What is something you regret not doing in your 20s?” would have—you’d imagine— replies outlining regrets about not having gone for their crush, not pursuing their dream career, never believing they were enough…
While there were indeed many replies of the sort, there was an unexpected bunch of people who wished they had taken better care of their teeth. That’s right, their oral hygiene is what appealed to them as the greatest regret of their youth. That’s because—as these regretful Redditors reflected— an unhealthy smile is an expensive problem to fix, not to mention that tooth pain sucks.
So when it comes to your teeth, preventative measures are the way to go. How can you, as a busy college or university student, ensure that the state of your smile is not a cause for regret ten years down the road? Here are four healthy teeth tips just for you:
1. Use the dental insurance you paid for
Chances are, you paid for some form of dental coverage when you paid your tuition in September. It should cover most of the expense of a basic dental cleaning and checkup, both of which are recommended to be done every six months—even if you brush and floss your teeth the recommended amount of times without fail. Your post-secondary institution’s website should have more information about how to use your insurance—take advantage of it, to help ensure you end the academic year with a beautiful, healthy smile!
2. Choose healthy study snacks...and rinse with water after
It’s easy to reach for those pre-packaged, sugary snacks in the midst of working on what seems like an endless list of midterms & assignments. Or a sugary coffee drink, for that much-needed boost. You might even feel like you deserve it.
Unfortunately, sugar is widely known to cause tooth decay and cavities (and the freshman 15!).Try to choose healthier snacks such as veggies with hummus, an apple, a boiled egg, etc—to maximize the energy you get while making the right choice for your smile. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards to protect your enamel.
Make the right snacking choices for your smile
3. Watch the substance use
For better or for worse, post-secondary is often a time for experimentation. When it comes to substance use, make sure you know the consequences different substances can have for your teeth:
ALCOHOL : alcoholic drinks often have lots of sugar and high acidity, which wear down the enamel of your teeth—leading to cavities, periodontal disease, tooth decay...
COFFEE: stains your teeth, bad breath—also high sugar content
MARIJUANA/ TOBACCO (including shisha): smoking regularly causes staining, dry mouth, bad breath, tooth decay, periodontal disease, etc.
4. Oral hygiene>perfect grades
It’s the day before a big test that you just haven’t prepared enough for—you might be tempted to stay up until an unreasonable hour playing catch-up. Sacrificing all your sleep probably isn’t wise, but deciding to skip brushing and flossing your teeth—a potential side effect of being so tired—certainly isn’t. After all, no number of A+’s on your transcript will negate the impacts of poor dental hygiene on your health. Prioritise your smile over your grades!
Congratulations—you’re empowered with tips to ensure your teeth remain healthy throughout your educational journey. Now, consider that there are youth experiencing homelessness in Toronto who are unable to do the same because they lack access to the most basic oral hygiene supplies—namely, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
At TorontoTooth, we believe that everybody deserves the dignity of being able to brush their teeth. Our mission is to raise money to purchase basic oral hygiene supplies for this vulnerable population. You can help us. Did you know that a donation of just $10 will provide four youth with a dental hygiene kit? Please click on the link below to make a difference today.