6 Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health While Traveling4 min read
While dental care may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a getaway, your oral health should be a priority during your travels. A toothache or gingivitis could really damper your fun, so careful planning is essential to maintain healthy teeth wherever you go. Here are six tips to follow for good oral health while traveling.
1. Visit the Dentist Before You Leave
Regardless of your travel plans, you should schedule a trip to the dentist at least once or twice a year for a cleaning. However, seeing them before you embark on your journey for dental sealants is also a good idea.
Dental sealants help prevent 80% of molar cavities, which is where 90% of cavities occur. Sealants are widely under-performed, yet these thin coatings may last over two years, providing optimal protection for your back teeth.
2. Prevent Gingivitis with Regular Brushing
Food stuck in your teeth makes for an unsightly appearance, so ensure you keep your oral hygiene products — toothbrush, paste, floss, mouthwash, night guard and other items — easily accessible. For example, a carry-on bag or purse is ideal for storing them during a long flight or layover.
Regular brushing will prevent the onset of gingivitis — gum inflammation that occurs when tartar and plaque accumulate on your teeth, often leading to bad breath, bleeding and tooth decay. Gingivitis affects 47.2% of American adults over 30 and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
3. Limit Your Sugar Intake
Dentists cringe at the sight of candy and soft drinks, and with good reason — sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth. Sadly, sugar is everywhere, especially on vacation.
You should keep your discounted drink package to save money during your cruise — and certainly don’t deprive yourself of a dessert or two. However, limiting alcoholic beverages, sugary snacks and sweets will protect your mouth in the long run.
If you can, stock a small cooler with healthy snacks and beverages, such as apples, carrots, mixed nuts and water.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Speaking of water, staying hydrated is one of the most essential rules for optimal oral health. Drinking water flushes away food residue that gets stuck between your teeth or on your gums. Water also keeps your mouth moist with saliva, preventing bacteria buildup and cavities.
Consider carrying a water bottle and setting reminders on your phone to sip your drink throughout the day. You should also research your destination’s water quality before you leave. If the region’s water isn’t known for being safe, avoid the tap and stick to bottled water instead.
5. Research Dentists at Your Destination
The unexpected can always occur while traveling, so you should always be well-prepared. What happens if you chip a tooth or have another dental emergency while away from home? Look up dentists and clinics at your destination in case you need to get in for a last-minute appointment.
Before you leave, check into your insurance to see if they cover travel dental emergencies. If not, consider purchasing dental travel insurance for coverage while you’re away. Travel insurance makes sense for shorter trips and aims to provide temporary emergency relief until you return home to see your regular dentist.
6. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum tends to get a bad rap, but sugar-free gum can refresh your mouth between brushings. Chewing on sugar-free gum removes food debris and bacteria, preventing conditions like gingivitis.
Sugar-free gum also contains xylitol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol known to prevent cavities. Xylitol prevents bacteria growth — the longer you chew it, the fewer bacteria can survive on your teeth and in your mouth.
Protect Your Teeth Wherever You Go
Your dental care shouldn’t take the backseat during your travels. In fact, oral health should be the center of your focus. Protect your teeth while away from home by using essential dental hygiene products and sticking to your dental care routine.