Keeping Your Teeth Healthy While Traveling
Traveling gives us an excuse to take a break from the daily grind but going on vacation can pose a challenge when it comes to keeping up with a healthy oral hygiene routine. Whether you are going to San Antonio Texas or heading to Bulgaria, dental hygiene is important. However, you should not forget about your teeth while you go on vacation, just because it’s time to hit the beach or go relax somewhere doesn’t mean you can’t keep your teeth healthy
There’s nothing like travel to take you away from your everyday routine and immerse you in something different and new. But you still need to make time to take care of your smile, in the midst of the hectic schedule and the hustle and bustle, exciting adventures, and much-needed relaxation. You should keep your mouth healthy, clean and fresh while traveling. It’s all the more important to have a full dental check-up before you leave if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time especially out of the country.
Tips Before Traveling
You may want to consider doing some of these things to ensure your mouth stays healthy while traveling before you go:
Visit your Dentist for a Check-Up
Let your dentist know that you will be traveling. It’s better to go earlier if you are almost due for your check-up if there are any problems, so they can be resolved before you travel. You definitely don’t want a cavity to ruin your planned trip.
Stock up on your oral hygiene supplies
This is important so that you won’t run out while you’re away. You will probably be able to find the basics like toothbrush and toothpaste, wherever you’re going, but you may also want to bring the items you routinely use at home.
Make a list of credible and safe dentists in the place you plan to visit
You may want to go to a place that’s reputable if you run into a dental emergency. Your dentist, insurance plan, and organizations can help you with this.
Check your Insurance
It is important that you check your insurance in order to see if it covers dental emergencies. Find out exactly what type of coverage is in the policy, if you are buying travel medical insurance.
Depending on where you plan to travel, your oral health supplies may be limited, or you may not have access to the supplies you’re familiar with. Here’s an essential oral health packing checklist you can use before you travel:
- A good-sized travel container or bag which can fit all of your oral health supplies
- A toothbrush
- Toothbrush holder or carrying case. Make sure also that it contains holes for ventilation and water drainage
- Toothpaste to help you protect your teeth against cavities and promote healthy gums
- Dental floss
- Mouthwash with antibacterial properties or fluoride to help prevent gum disease
- Sugarless gum, for chewing after meals in order to increase saliva flow to help remove food particles and sugar from your mouth
- If you wear a retainer, headgear, mouth guard, or dentures, don’t forget to pack it and include the carrying case
- Painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, just in case you get a toothache
Tips During Travel
Whether it’s a 24-hour road trip or a 12-hour flight, it is obvious that you’ve got a long day ahead of you. So the comforts of having a clean bathroom to take care of your oral health are not accessible to you. Here are some tips to keep your mouth healthy while on the route to your travel destination.
Carry a few essential oral hygiene items in your bag
It’s important to place some essential oral hygiene items in your bag or purse since you don’t want to sort through your luggage just to get your toothbrush. And when you’re traveling by plane, you might not even have that option if you didn’t pack a carry-on. So, have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss handy to keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh while you’re traveling. Use travel-sized items if you’re tight for space.
Use a mouth rinse
Use mouth rinse for those instances when you just don’t have time to do a full oral care routine. It may not be a substitute for brushing and flossing, but when there’s a line-up for that truck stop bathroom or the air turbulence forces you to get back to your seat on a flight, then rinsing is a quick way to freshen up your breath.
Stay away from tooth-unfriendly food
When traveling, it’s likely you’re straying from your usual oral care routine. So don’t make things worse by eating food which is not good for your teeth. Stay away from sugary snacks and carbonated soft-drinks, since bacteria from plaque use the sugar to produce acids which erode tooth enamel. When picking up your snacks for the ride, choose nuts and seeds rather than a bag of jelly beans or other tooth-unfriendly food.
Maintain healthy mouth while you’re away from home
When you’ve finally arrived at your destination, it’s now time to relax and enjoy your vacation. But don’t forget that it’s important to maintain your oral hygiene to keep your mouth healthy. Here are the tips which could help you protect your mouth from oral health problems.
Maintain your oral care routine
Being on vacation is not an excuse to slack off on your oral hygiene, like taking care of your teeth. You need to continue what you’re doing at home in order to keep your mouth healthy.
- Continue to brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste in order to protect against mouth problems such as cavities, gingivitis and tartar buildup.
- Floss every day to remove tartar from tooth surfaces and also to reach areas your toothbrush can’t get to. Plus, it can also help against gingivitis.
- If you’re not at home and can’t brush your teeth after eating, then at least rinse your mouth with water to help get rid of food from your mouth.
- If you think it’s not safe to drink the local water, then it’s likely not safe to use it for oral care either. So, use bottled water or boiled water to brush your teeth and clean your toothbrush.
- Keep your toothbrush clean
- As soon as you reach your destination, take out your toothbrush from its carrying case. Stand it upright in a cup to allow the brush to dry and in order to allow the water to drain away from the bristles.
- Eat teeth-friendly food
For many, vacation is a time for overindulgence. However, keep in mind to watch out what you eat and limit the amount of sugar you have.
Eat more food that won’t harm your teeth, like:
- Fibre-rich fruits and vegetables (fiber helps stimulate saliva flow, which can neutralize acids and enzymes which cause tooth decay)
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese and plain yogurt (calcium from this food help keep teeth strong)
- Black tea and green tea (these teas contain substances which can kill or inhibit bacteria found in plaque)
- Limit food which may harm your teeth, including:
- Sweets including pastries, lollipops, caramel or even cough drops with sugar
- Carbonated soft drinks. In addition to having high sugar content, these drinks also contain acids which erode tooth enamel.
- Starchy food which can get stuck between your teeth, such as soft bread and potato chips
- After eating, chew sugarless gum in order to increase saliva flow to help remove food particles from your mouth and to help keep teeth clean.
Whether you’re packing a light bag for a weekend getaway or you’re heading overseas for a long-awaited trip or vacation, it is important to take a few steps to prepare for your travels. Always remember the tips you could do before, during, and after you have reached your destination.