You most likely have a trusted dental health and hygiene routine at home that works for you and your family. But what about when you travel? How do you take care of your oral health when you’re away from home? If you are about to embark on a long anticipated vacation, don’t forget some simple tips to make sure your dental health doesn’t suffer:
Schedule a Checkup
Just to be on the safe side, try to schedule a regular visit before your trip. With a thorough exam, you can rest easy knowing any potential issues have been identified, and your dentist has current and up-to-date information on your teeth, including x-rays. And grab a card on your way out, or better yet, put his number into your cell phone. A lot of dental emergencies can be resolved over the phone. And if not, your dentist can help you decide if it can wait until you get home.
When Traveling Overseas
If you are out of the country and a dental emergency happens, you do have options. Of course, you can talk to a concierge at a hotel, who will most likely have information about local dental providers and services. But you can also call a local consulate or the U.S. embassy. Ask employees there for local recommendations, and then you’ll know that the recommendation is not based on a hotel contract or a relationship with their employee.
Where’s my Toothbrush?
If you’ve said (or heard) these dreaded words, you know the frustration of unpacking and realizing you left your toothbrush at home! Don’t panic though, even if you can’t get to a store right away. Rinsing vigorously with water can help to remove some of the bacteria that causes cavities. Or better yet, put some toothpaste on a clean washcloth, or even your finger, and do your best to clean your teeth and gums. Then when you find a store, look for a toothbrush with the ADA Seal (American Dental Association). If you can’t find one, choose the softest brush available.
Keep It Clean
At home, your toothbrush should air dry to keep it clean, but that’s not possible when you’re traveling. Instead, transport it in a clean plastic bag to keep it dry. Once you get to your destination, then you can let it air dry until you leave to come home.
Don’t Forget the Gum
Research shows that chewing sugarless gum after meals for 20 minutes can help reduce cavities. It helps by getting the saliva flowing, which washes away some of the bacteria on your teeth. And if you’re flying, it will also help to relieve pressure in your ears in flight.
Choose Your Water Carefully
If you are traveling out of the country where the water supply could be compromised, or are in any wilderness area where the water comes from streams, don’t use the local water to brush. You should brush with bottled water instead, to reduce the risk of contaminants. If you do get compromised water on your toothbrush, replace it when you can, and rinse it well with bottled water if you must use it.
When you return from your travels, get right back into a good dental hygiene regimen, and follow up with your dentist if you have any concerns or issues. For more information about these travel tips and more, visit the MouthHealthy website from the ADA.