There are many things for new college students – and their parents – to think about as they prepare for that first school year away from home. These include scheduling classes, making living arrangements, completing financial aid information, and planning for a great college experience.
It’s easy for health care, especially dental care, to take a back seat to everything else. Yet, maintaining good at-home and professional care will pay huge dividends later in life, when healthy teeth become more important than a fantastic spring break destination!
Below are dental care tips for families that have students moving away from home for the first time.
- Help your student get more involved in the process of great dental care. For example, now is an ideal time to transfer the responsibility of scheduling appointments to your student. Similarly, remind them that they need to be more mindful of changes to their mouth now that they will be on their own and, naturally, will have fewer conversations with you.
- Determine where your student can receive care while away at school. For most college students, routine cleanings and checkups are still provided by their family’s dentist during class breaks. However, it is important to have a plan in place for unexpected issues that may arise while on campus. Checking with the orientation coordinators about on-campus health facilities, and exactly what they offer, is a good first step to planning for emergencies.
- Send lots of dental care supplies. A good care package should not only include toothpaste, brushes, and floss, but also a custom mouthguard for those intramural sports leagues and Greek Week activities. Please also remember to pack retainers and a quality storage case, which are some of the most forgotten items during the move-in process.
College is a very exciting and rewarding time for both students and parents. A little pre-planning for health care can go a long way toward ensuring the focus stays on advancing opportunities for learning, making valuable contacts, and, of course, having fun.
By Scott V. Merritt, DMD, contributing writer and dentist at BridgeMill Dentistry in Canton, Ga.