Travel Tips and a Healthy Smile

oral_hygieneWhether you travel for pleasure, business, education, or other reasons, leaving your home town to explore new places can be a lot of fun, even if it does disrupt your daily routine. It’s important to maintain your oral hygiene regimen when you are on the road, because the forces that cause tooth decay are at work every day, no matter where you are.

If you plan ahead, it is not hard to keep your oral hygiene habits in place. Here is a checklist to help you be aware of the extra steps that you need to take to keep your teeth and gums in good shape.

Travel tips to maintain your oral hygiene

  1. Get a checkup before you go and plan ahead for emergencies. A dental checkup can catch issues that could cause discomfort or distress on the road. If you’re traveling outside the United States, you may want to check to see if your travel insurance has provisions for referrals to local dentists.
  2. Drink extra water during your trip to avoid dehydration. When you fly, be especially vigilant about drinking plenty of clean water, which will help you avoid dry mouth, cleanse your mouth of debris, and reduce the formation of bacterial plaque.
  3. Pack a dental kit to take with you. You can bring the type of toothbrush, floss and mouthwash you’re most comfortable with if you pack your own items. If you use a mouthguard at night, pack that too. Don’t forget to bring disposable toothpicks or flossers so you can clean your teeth while you’re away from your lodgings.
  4. Protect your travel toothbrush, but let it dry after use! When using a toothbrush on the road, it is important to not let the brush come in contact with all the other items in your suitcase. However, once you’ve brushed your teeth on a trip, give the brush time to completely dry out before covering it again. This reduces the chances that the moist brush will experience bacterial growth.
  5. Pack some sugar-free gum. Gum that contains xylitol can prevent bacterial plaque from forming on your teeth, and help prevent dry mouth.

“Oral hygiene on the road is much the same as oral hygiene at home,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist with a practice in central Phoenix. “It’s important to bring what you need with you, and to be proactive in your planning.”

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