Travel Tips for your Teeth
Make Time for a Checkup
Even when you’re dreaming about vacation, there’s no place like home–especially a dental home base. Prevention isn’t only taking care of your teeth, it’s establishing a relationship with a dentist. If you can, schedule your next regular visit before your trip. You’ll have peace of mind, and your dentist will have the most up-to-date information on your teeth, including x-rays.
In Case of Emergency…
Have your dentist’s contact info handy in your cell phone or keep a business card in your wallet. More dental emergencies can be resolved over the phone than you might think.
In Case of Emergency Overseas…
If you are out of the country and absolutely in need of a dentist get in touch with the local consulate or U.S. embassy. While talking to the concierge at the hotel is OK, ask the consulate and their employees for a recommendation.
Forget Your Toothbrush?
If you find yourself temporarily without a toothbrush, you can rinse vigorously with water to wash away some of that cavity-causing bacteria. You could also put some toothpaste on a clean washcloth or your clean finger.
Proper Toothbrush Transport
Letting your toothbrush air dry is how you keep your toothbrush clean at home, but that’s not always possible on vacation. A re-sealable plastic bag will keep your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things in your luggage.
Pack an ADA-Accepted Pack of Gum
Chewing sugarless gum can help relieve ear pressure during a flight – and help keep cavities at bay on vacay. Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent cavities. That’s because it gets saliva flowing, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria.
When In Doubt, Brush with Bottled Water
If you are in a country where the water supply is compromised – or you’re on a wilderness adventure but aren’t sure how clean the stream is – always use bottled water to brush. Don’t use the local water to brush your teeth. What happens if you accidentally get local water on your toothbrush? Get a new one if you can. If that isn’t possible, rinse your brush well with bottled water to reduce the risk of getting sick.
Get Back on Track After Your Trip
If you let brushing and flossing slide – or indulged in too many sweets while away – don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on your normal routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing when you get home.