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The many risks to NZ university students’ teeth

While trying to uphold strong academic scores alongside a vibrant party lifestyle, one thing many university students aren't maintaining is their dental health. 

Is there a good excuse for this lack of oral care, or  is it expected during this developmental stage?

Drinking versus the dentist

Drinking is seen as a fundamental aspect of university life for many attendees, with various institutions across the country known for their wild drinking cultures. For example, the University of Otago is renowned for its annual Hyde Street keg party, where thousands of students drink alarming amounts of alcohol. The same university released a study showcasing that 37 per cent of female students and 39 per cent of male students drank to intoxication at least once a week. 

37 per cent of female students and 39 per cent of male students drank to intoxication at least once a week.

The issue? Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to dehydration and reduces saliva production, which is responsible for protecting the teeth from acid damage. This problem is exacerbated by many university students turning to sugary energy drinks to stay awake during late night study sessions.

Not only do these drinks have high sugar percentages, the carbonated fizz contains significant acid levels, which also softens the enamel on the teeth. Brushing straight after drinking fizzy drinks can cause the tooth to wear down further due to the enamel being so soft.

To reduce this risk, students should wait a number of hours before brushing in order to give the enamel time to harden up again. 

Find out how university students are damaging their teeth. Do you know how excessive drinking can harm your teeth?

Lower income, higher bills: A recipe for tooth decay

The combination of not working full time and high course-related costs (the average University of Auckland student will pay between $10,000 and $25,000 on fees per year) mean that many students are spending more money than they earn.

Due to money being tight, many students are forced to opt for more budget-friendly snacks, which aren't always the healthiest option. Chocolate bars and lollies are just two of the sugar-laden, inexpensive snacks found in university vending machines, and two that can increase the risk of tooth decay.

If a student is also drinking excess amounts of sugary drinks, the long-term dental costs could actually be higher if tooth decay worsens and more in-depth dental treatment is required. 

Don't let untreated oral issues worsen. Instead, be sure to maintain regular dental visits to stay on top of underlying problems and avoid paying higher dental fees in the long run. Call the team at City Dentists today on 04 978 4964 to book your next routine check up