Summer’s approaching fast, and with it comes road trips, family vacations, and travel plans. We’re all for travel and vacations, but just because you’re going on vacation doesn’t mean you can take a break from oral hygiene. We’re not saying you have to pack an electric toothbrush or a Waterpik® if you’re going camping for the weekend, but you should make an appropriate plan to continue caring for your teeth and gums… or else you could end up with an unpleasant souvenir from your trip: a cavity.
- Make it easy for yourself with travel supplies. Packing for a trip, whether a road trip or an overseas flight, is always a pain. You never have enough room for everything you want to bring, or you forget something you definitely need (like a toothbrush). Prepare ahead by having a small case or bag with all the travel necessities—toothbrush, toothpaste, floss or picks, and mouth rinse, for starters. Travel sizes aren’t the most economical way to purchase supplies, but they are convenient and ensure you can breeze through security checks at the airport.
- Ditch the toothbrush case. Sure, it might not feel good to think about your toothbrush jostling up against shampoo, soap, deodorant, and all the other items you’ve got in your toiletries bag… but it’s not as bad as sealing a wet toothbrush inside a plastic case that doubles as a bacteria breeding ground. You can always wash your toothbrush with hot water when you get where you’re going.
- Carry on your supplies. A quick brush, floss, and rinse can do wonders to help you feel refreshed on a long flight or when you get to the airport—and going carry-on will save you headaches if your luggage is delayed. But don’t obsess about it. You’ll be able to get new replacements at a drugstore almost anywhere you go.
- Stick to your routine. When traveling, it’s all too easy to get caught up in sightseeing, hiking, and dining out. In fact, that may be the entire point of some vacations. But oral hygiene is one of those things where the routine matters. Remember to brush at night before bed, in the morning after waking up, and to floss at least once a day.
- If in doubt, use bottled water. In foreign countries, especially ones that are off the beaten path, play it safe by using bottled water for your oral hygiene routine. As a rule of thumb, if you’re going to avoid drinking tap water, then avoid using it for brushing. Thankfully, in these places, most hotels will provide a complimentary bottle or two every day.
- Stick with healthy snacks. When you’re on the go, whether in the car or out sightseeing, there’s a temptation to pick up junky snacks for a quick energy boost. Avoid doing so if you can. Not only is the energy from a candy bar or bottle of soda short-lived, sugary snacks and drinks give bacteria plenty of fuel to cause tooth decay. If you do give into temptation, you’ve packed your toothbrush in carry-on for a reason. Use it. And if you like to chew gum on a plane, stick with sugar-free.
- Finally, if you’re planning a long trip, consider a check-up before you go. When your departure date gets close, it’s easy to put off routine tasks until after your vacation. If one of those tasks is your dental checkup, reconsider. If you’ve got a nagging concern, like an achy tooth, get it taken care of before your vacation. The last thing anyone wants is a full-blown toothache ruining your vacation!