Like many 21st-century students, you’ve chosen to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree at a foreign school. You’re excited to explore the world and learn more about your chosen field in a different country.

However, amid the excitement, you might realize that you don’t know how you’ll manage your dental health in this new country. Even if you plan to study in a first-world country, that nation might have different dental practices and standards than your native country, and its dentists may not accept your insurance.

Should you simply depend on your oral health regimen to keep your teeth healthy, or should you try to find a dentist while you study?

Below, you’ll find an outline of everything you need to know about maintaining your dental health while you study abroad.

1. Get a Dental Checkup Before You Leave

In the month before you leave, set up an appointment with your dentist to have him or her check your dental health. If you have a thorough oral examination before you leave, your dentist can take care of any cavities or other anomalies right then. You won’t have to go to a dentist you don’t know for emergency treatment later.

This checkup also tells you how soon you will need to see a dentist once you travel. You might have to see one sooner than you think if you have receding gums or any other developing condition.

2. Arrange to See Your Dentist on Visits Home

Even if you earn a degree abroad, you should not go without seeing a dentist in the interim. Ideally, try to set up an appointment with your current dentist the next time you come home to see friends or family. If possible, plan your dental visits around your upcoming summer break or winter vacation.

3. Check Water Standards and Brush With Bottled Water When Necessary

Sometimes, even if you travel to another first-world country, the tap water doesn’t go through the same purification processes that it does in the United States. Search online to determine whether or not you can safely use the water in your new region. If you can’t, brush your teeth with bottled water instead.

4. Ask Your Dentist to Recommend Foreign Practitioners

Perhaps you can’t fit in dentist visits during your trips home. In these circumstances, you may have to find a new dental practitioner in your host country. However, you don’t necessarily have to make the search alone. Ask your dentist if he or she knows or has heard of a quality dentist by your school.

Your current dentist may have contacts or knowledge of certifications in your new country. Ask him or her who or what she knows, and he or she can accelerate your search for a new foreign dentist.

5. Check Online Reviews of Local Dental Products

You may find your favorite toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash brands in your new country, or you may not. Fortunately, it’s easy to check up on this beforehand. Before you leave, read online reviews of the country’s popular dental products to see if any of them will work for you. Most countries have strong dental product lines. Your dentist can likely give you recommendations as needed.

6. Ship Dental Products From the United States When Necessary

In some cases, your host country might not have the same standards as the United States when it comes to dental hygiene products. If you suspect that local products might not have enough cleansing power to keep your mouth healthy, use online shopping sites like Amazon to ship trustworthy brands to your new home.

 

In most cases, you won’t have to worry about compatible dental treatment standards in other countries. However, if you find yourself in an area that doesn’t have the same standards as the United States, keep the above tips in mind. And if you have further questions about your personal dental health needs while abroad, talk to your dentist.