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5 Dental Tips to Avoid the “Freshman 15”

College freshman student holds a stack of textbooks and their glasses while standing in front of a library shelf

Each year, thousands of young adults leave for college, and for many, this is the first time they have been away from home for an extended period. Without Mom or Dad on hand to crack the whip, many students easily slide into bad habits afforded them by the freedom of the college lifestyle. Late night pizza runs, Red Bull-infused study sessions, hurried ramen noodle meals, post-breakup ice cream binges, and a multitude of eye-popping desserts in the cafeteria all contribute to the dreaded “freshman 15.” Invariably, students arrive home for the holidays looking more…well, more.

Dental Consequences of the “Freshman 15”

At Michael Gillespie Family Dentistry, we also notice the “freshman 15″—as in 15 new cavities! Or 8, or 5, or 11. The same poor health habits that lead to weight gain have the added disadvantage of promoting tooth decay. Couple this with a relaxed approach to brushing and flossing and you have a recipe for dental disaster.

5 Cavity Prevention Tips

To prevent having a mouth afflicted by tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease at the end of the semester, have your student follow Dr. G’s Dental 101 Course Guidelines:

  1. Make Daily Oral Hygiene a Priority
  2. Brush your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste and either a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time. Floss between your teeth at least once a day with string floss or a Waterpik® water flosser, and rinse your mouth at least a few times a week with an alcohol-free antibacterial/antiplaque mouthwash.

  3. Limit Unhealthy Foods & Beverages
  4. Limit your consumption of refined sugars, such as pizza, potato chips, soda, candy, etc. Moreover, limit beverages that can damage your teeth, like soda, coffee, fruit juice, energy drinks, and sports drinks.

  5. Eat Tooth-Healthy Foods
  6. As much as possible, eat fresh vegetables, whole fresh fruit, dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, lean protein, and foods high in calcium like yogurt and cheese.

  7. Drink Water & Chew Sugar-Free Gum
  8. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider chewing sugar-free gum after snacks and meals to stimulate saliva production and to help wash away residual food particles.

  9. Schedule Your Checkup
  10. When you’re visiting home, make sure to come visit us for your routine dental cleaning and checkup. Every six months, we want to make sure your oral health is in A+ condition.

Extra credit points and a confidence boost to all students that call their family at least weekly! Share this post with your student to help them have excellent dental health while pursuing their studies. Be sure to remind them to schedule their cleaning and checkup. Contact us for more cavity-prevention tips.

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Michael D. Gillespie, DDS

Michael D. Gillespie, DDS