Vacations have a tendency to throw our regular routines and habits out of whack. Bedtimes become later, ice cream solidifies itself as a staple in our diet, and good oral hygiene… well, let’s just say it can be tempting to skip a flossing session when there’s so much fun to be had. No matter how appealing it may be, taking a vacation from oral hygiene is never a good idea. Here are a few suggestions to protect your teeth while traveling this summer.
- Visit Your Dentist
Due for a dentist visit? Schedule an appointment prior to your vacation, especially if you’ll be away for a long time (lucky you!) or traveling to somewhere with limited access to dental care. At your pre-vacation appointment, your dentist will make sure your teeth and gums are in tip-top shape, identifying any underlying problems that could put a wrench in your vacation plans.
- Pack Your Toothbrush Correctly
When it comes to packing your toothbrush, avoid tossing it into your suitcase sans case, as the other contents of your bag can transfer bacteria onto your toothbrush. Instead, pack your toothbrush in a case with holes for drainage and ventilation, which also help reduce the chance of bacteria growth.
- … And Unpack It Right Away
Don’t let your wet toothbrush sit in a case; again, a damp environment breeds bacteria. Unpack your toothbrush to let it air dry immediately upon reaching your vacation destination or when you arrive home. Also, remember to clean your toothbrush case before and after your trip.
- In the Event of a Forgotten Toothbrush…
After a long day on the road, you arrive at your destination only to realize that you’ve forgotten your toothbrush. What now? The best solution would be to buy a new one. But in a pinch, you can instead vigorously rinse your mouth out with warm water to wash away bacteria. Even better, if you’ve remembered to pack toothpaste, squeeze some onto a clean washcloth or your finger and use either of those to gently brush your teeth.
- Pack Sugarless Gum
Another thing to remember to pack: gum! Chewing gum during a flight not only relieves ear pressure, but it can also help prevent cavities by increasing saliva that washes away bacteria. Just make sure the gum you pack or purchase is sugarless!
- Try to Stick to Your Routine
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy while traveling can be as simple as sticking to your routine of daily brushing and flossing. These habits become even more important during vacation when you’re more likely to indulge in sugary treats like ice cream and soda. Prioritizing brushing and flossing and limiting indulgences when possible helps you get back in a healthy groove when you get home.