With an office in the heart of Lafayette, we see many patients who either study or teach at nearby LSU, SoLACC, and UL Lafayette. We are working hard to educate students and professors alike of the importance of caring for teeth and gums. With advanced technology and years of experience, we can help students avoid the onset of gum disease and maintain healthy smiles.
The Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Gums
We’re not here to lecture, but we cannot overstate the damaging effects of excessive alcohol consumption on the health of your gums and oral tissues. Studies reveal that adults who imbibe more than ten drinks per week have a higher risk of developing gingivitis and periodontitis. One explanation stems from the fact that alcoholic drinks have a dehydrating effect on your mouth, so you produce less saliva. Saliva, your body’s natural mouthwash, plays an important role in neutralizing acids and rinsing away bacteria and bits of food. Drinking large amounts of alcohol, or drinking frequently, has been linked to precancerous formations on the tongue, throat, and gums.
The “Freshman 15” and Your Oral Health
We can trace most first year students’ weight gain to an unhealthy diet of takeout food and vending machine fare. These salty and sweet indulgences should be the exception to your regular diet, certainly not the norm. Weight gain and health consequences aside, excess junk food consumption leaves your teeth and gums vulnerable to bacterial and acidity—especially if you don’t brush or floss regularly. If you absolutely must partake, at least rinse your mouth with water for a minimum of 30 seconds afterward. Doing so will rinse away large food particles and bacteria before they can form sticky plaque, which coats your teeth and contributes to cavities and gum disease.
In the past few years, we’ve also seen an alarming trend in college students’ reliance on energy drinks to make it through the school day. A single serving of Red Bull, Monster, and other popular brands packs in unbelievable amounts of sugar. The syrupy swill is even more acidic than most sodas, and it sets to work attacking your tooth enamel within minutes of each sip. Each time you consume an acidic food or beverage, rinse your mouth with water as soon as possible. Do not brush your teeth immediately, however, as the enamel covering your teeth has been weakened by acids. Instead, wait 30 minutes to avoid causing further damage.
Long-term Consequences of Poor Oral Hygiene
If you think an occasional cavity is the worst of it, think again. Over time, poor oral hygiene significantly increases your risk of developing periodontal disease and cancers of the throat, tongue, and mouth. Given some of the assignments your professors will assign, instructions from your periodontist will seem downright simple. It’s as easy as brushing twice daily, flossing at least once daily, and scheduling regular visits for professional cleaning.
Are you a young adult with symptoms of periodontal disease? Early treatment and intervention will go a long way in preventing future health problems. To schedule an appointment at Periodontist Associates, contact us at 337-989-0267. You can also schedule an appointment at Dr. Comeaux’s satellite office in Opelousas by calling 1-800-821-6503.