Imagine this: A relaxing vacation is on your mind, and you’ve got the perfect destination figured out. Maybe you have a to-do list of all the things you need to take care of before taking off, and a checklist of activities to do and places to see once you get there.
In all the excitement, it’s easy to forget a few things: staying healthy and, by association, your dental health.
While vacations are a natural opportunity to break from responsibility, your health may suffer for it in some small way. To avoid this, it’s best to keep a few tips handy. Dental concerns require their own set of vacation-friendly reminders. It’s easy to neglect oral health, whether it’s immediately before your vacation or while you’re on it, but with these travel-friendly dental pointers, you can tick your dental checklist off without a problem.
1. Schedule that dental visit if you need it
If you’re experiencing even the slightest discomfort, visiting the dentist before you go on vacation is advisable. A toothache, sharp or cracked tooth, cavity, or missed appointment or are all good enough reasons to go.
This particularly applies before vacations, because it’s always best to avoid unnecessary and painful circumstances while you are actually on holiday. When in a different country or new environment, treatment costs may vary; communication may be an issue and your level of comfort will also likely be different.
A visit to your dentist before you head to your holiday will help give you peace-of-mind.
2. Pack the essentials
Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush, floss and your choice of toothpaste. Relying on local choices once you’ve arrived may not be wise, especially if this compromises your comfort and dental health.
A travel kit containing all the necessary toiletries including your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss would be a safe and reliable choice.
3. Say no to toothbrush cases
Cases that come with toothbrushes to prevent brush bristles from contacting dirty surfaces may seem like a good idea at first. In reality, they encourage bacterial growth due to the moisture on the bristles and the subsequent moist environment within the case.
Allow your toothbrush to air dry once you are done using it, and then store it in the travel kit. This will prevent bacterial growth and also help to avoid getting other items wet from the bristles.
4. Carry-on luggage
If you are getting on a plane for a long flight, chances are that you are going to need to brush your teeth. Carry your toothbrush and a portable toothpaste in a small, resealable container in your carry-on. Be sure to take some floss, too.
All this will make it easy for you to take care of your oral hygiene even when you’re cruising at 35,000 feet.
5. Tours and dental tools
When you’re on vacation, chances are you’ve booked several local tours and will be busy moving from place to place. This may mean that your oral hygiene gets compromised since you simply may not have the time to care for it. However, remember to at least wash your mouth after each meal. Carrying a travel-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste along on each of your excursions may also come in handy.
Try to avoid continuous snacking. This will only increase bacterial activity around your teeth and will result in a higher chance of cavities.
6. Keep that number handy
In case of a dental emergency or if you feel you really need to talk to an expert about oral issues while on vacation, who better to call than your own dentist? Keep your dentist’s number safely stored on your mobile phone and also write it down somewhere, just in case. You are more likely to communicate smoothly if you are speaking to the dentist you’re already familiar with. In the event of any dental issue, give your dentist a call with any questions you may have and set your mind at rest.
If you are traveling overseas, it may be a better idea to contact the local consulate or your embassy for any dental emergencies. They may be able to offer you the right choices and even recommend a good dentist in the country you are visiting. Be prepared to contact the local authorities if necessary. For minor concerns, the concierge at your hotel may be able to help you with recommendations.
7. Sugarless gum to the rescue
Chewing sugarless gum can not only help relieve air pressure in your ears on your flight but also keep cavities away. Chewing sugarless gum for about twenty minutes after a meal will get your saliva flowing and wash away any cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.
By doing this, you won’t have to worry about not paying proper attention to your teeth while on vacation. Pack some sugarless gum, and you’re good to go.
8. Bottled water is a safer bet
If you’re in a country where you aren’t sure about the quality of the water, or if for instance you’re on a camping trip in the wilderness and the streams don’t look clean to you, stick to bottled water. According to Dr. Sonal Bhoot – Lee’s Summit, MO dentist:
“You can use bottled water to wash your toothbrush and your mouth after you brush your teeth. Poor water quality may cause issues for your oral health. So make sure you stock up on bottled water if you do go on a vacation that fits this description”
9. Keep overindulgences limited
While diet plans are easy to follow at home, they somehow fall through while you’re on vacation. People tend to loosen up more and, in the process, begin to indulge.
The key to dealing with this is moderation. If you do have to snack while on-the-go, try to pack some healthy snacks, like carrots or celery sticks. Trail mix is also a good option. When it comes to tasting local food, try everything, but be sure to choose small portions. Over-indulgence may get you nowhere but the dentist’s office.
10. Stick to routine
You probably already follow an oral hygiene routine like brushing twice daily and flossing once daily. Don’t let that fall away while you’re on vacation. In case you do stray from your routine a few times, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get back on track once you get home and be sure to keep your dental appointments as scheduled.
While a vacation may seem like the perfect time to kick back and relax, it’s important not to make compromises when it comes to your oral health.
A little effort and a few good tips are all you need in order to stick to your dental health routine.
Remember to rely on yourself first and consider all necessary options in case of an emergency. Arming yourself with some knowledge may also help, so do a little homework and keep yourself and your teeth in fighting condition.
Routine is an important part of the whole, so be sure to follow the oral hygiene routine you normally follow when you set off adventuring.
Your vacation will be much more enjoyable when you have no nagging aches or pains in your teeth to spoil your fun. Your mouth will thank you for caring.