Summertime is made for relaxing getaways and some much-needed down time, but don’t let all that fun in the sun distract you from sticking to your healthy habits, including your oral health routine. Follow these five easy tips to keep your dental health in tip-top shape while you’re traveling.
1. Store your toothbrush properly – Since a wet toothbrush is a breeding ground for bacteria, it’s important to keep it dry and well-ventilated at all times. When packing, completely dry your toothbrush first, and opt for a travel holder with breathable holes instead of packing it in a plastic baggy where moisture can collect. Better yet, take a new toothbrush with you. Many stores carry travel-sized toothbrushes for convenience. Just toss it once your vacation is over. If want to pack your electric toothbrush, bring a new brush head.
2. Be choosy about the water you’re drinking (and drink lots of it!) – If you’re vacationing somewhere where it’s inadvisable to drink the water, don’t use it to take care of your dental needs either. Use bottled water to rinse your mouth and brush your teeth, and don’t let questionable tap water keep you from staying hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of bottled water. Staying hydrated also helps keep your saliva levels optimal and helps prevent dry mouth, which can reduce your risk of tooth decay.
3. Keep a pack of gum handy – Extended car rides, delayed flights, long days sight-seeing—sometimes traveling can disrupt your normal dental care routine. For times when you’re not able to make it to a bathroom to brush after meals, keep a pack of sugarless gum handy, but choose brands that use the sweetener Xylitol, which has been proven to prevent cavities.
4. Prepare for the worst-case scenario – If you’ve recently had a temporary crown put in, pack some dental glue with you in case it pops out. Research dentists in the area you’re visiting in case of emergency, or ask your dentist for local recommendations if she knows any. The last thing you want to worry about is finding a reputable provider if you need immediate treatment.
5. Pack wisely – Curate your own "dental kit" with all the necessities and then some. Bringing floss, toothbrush and toothpaste is a given, but remember your mouth guard, retainers, Invisalign mouth pieces and even aspirin, Advil or Tylenol and a topical pain reliever in case of toothaches.
Good dental health takes consistency, so remember to take care of your teeth even when you are taking a break from your other daily routines. Clean teeth feel good, and you’ll want to keep that smile bright for all those vacation pictures.