There were approximately 21 million students who enrolled in colleges and universities in the fall of 2014, and that number could certainly rise in ensuing years if the new proposal of tuition-free community colleges comes to fruition. Normally, college activities will certainly be consumed with classes, assignments and exams, but there are other activities associated with college culture that can really be bad for your health and your oral health in particular.
So if you are already a college student or preparing to join the ranks, here are a few things to consider in taking care of your oral health while away at school.
Sex and oral health
It is not just the freshness of your breath that you have to consider when thinking of sexual activity. Participating in oral sex can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. This has been attributed to the transmission of the HPV16 virus, which has become the leading cause of oral cancer, especially among young people in the 40 and younger age group. Considering that up to about 59 percent of college students are having weekly sex, and approximately 38 percent may be having sex with up to 4 sexual partners, and 10 percent with more than 15 partners, the effect of sexual activity then becomes a valid concern during the college years.
With the more than 40 million Americans having some strain of HPV during their lifetime, having multiple partners means that you are almost guaranteed to come into contact with someone who has it, and the more oral sex partners is the greater the risk. Using protection such as a dental dam or condoms during oral sex as well as asking your doctor to check for signs of oral cancer during regular check-ups may be beneficial in preventing this problem.
Poor lifestyle choices
During college is the time when many poor lifestyle decisions may be made due to a combination of factors such as being on your own for the first time, a hectic schedule and peer influences. During this time such activities as heavy drinking at parties, the use of coffee or other energy drinks to stay awake during studying and eating more junk food can have an impact on your oral health. Starches and sugars found in such foods as pretzels, breads and sodas can cause your teeth to decay. While it might seem more expedient to get these, you may be doing a world of damage to your teeth.
Since it may be difficult to find the time or the inclination to find a doctor in your circumstances, it may be best to schedule regular dental checks during the time that you come home on breaks so that you keep up with your dental checks. Planning your meals and getting simple, easy to make, nutritious recipes can help with the urge to go junk. Confine your snacking in between meals and, if possible, use alternatives such as fruits and dairy for snacking.
Talk to a certified dentist like those at Marc E. Segal, D.D.S. for more information on how to keep track of your oral health while away at college.