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Will your teeth flunk out of school this semester?

College students have a higher incidence of tooth decay than some other age groups according to research. The tooth decay in this age group is likely caused by nutritional choices and acid erosion. College is difficult and stressful. Students cram late into the night studying for tests, then wake up early each day for class. This schedule causes students to choose sodas, coffee, chips, starchy foods like pizza or pasta, and sports drinks. This on-the-run nutrition contains acids and sugars that can deplete the tooth of needed minerals to stay healthy. Without the protective minerals your teeth can become weak and vulnerable to decay.

So, don’t let your teeth flunk out of college. There are many ways to improve the health of your teeth and your nutritional habits. Every once in awhile, substitute water for your soda or coffee. Eat carrots or other crunchy vegetables instead of chips for a snack. (Studies show the rigidity of the vegetables can actually help to scrape off some plaque as you chew). It is fine to have sweets in moderation, but try to chew a gum containing xylitol (Trident) immediately after to help prevent decay-causing bacteria. It takes less than 5 minutes to brush and floss, so make sure you are doing this morning and night. Even if you are far from home, you should still see a dentist twice yearly for a cleaning and an exam. Often your campus health office will have a licensed dental hygienist or a dental hygiene student who can clean your teeth for a lesser cost if you do not have insurance. Dr. McCargar, a dentist in Scottsdale, Arizona says, “Remember, you are studying hard to better your mind and your life. Don’t sabotage your health and your teeth by neglecting them. You will want to make a good first impression at your first job interview after graduation!”