Vacation is the perfect time to kick back and forget about your responsibilities. But don’t let your dental health fall by the wayside. Follow these tips to stay on top of your oral health wherever you go.
- Keep supplies handyHeading out on a long road trip? Keep floss, a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste in the glove compartment. They’ll be easily accessible when you want to clean your teeth at a rest stop after snacking.
- Skip the travel casesTravel cases for toothbrushes seem like a great idea. They help prevent the bristles from touching surfaces that could transfer bacteria, right? Actually, the moist environment can encourage bacterial growth. Skip the travel case and let your toothbrush air-dry before putting it away.
- Choose carry-onHopping on a plane? Keep a small tube of toothpaste in a quart- size sealable plastic bag, along with your toothbrush and floss.
Each container can have up to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) of liquid or gel. Carrying your dental supplies with you is better than stowing them in your check-in luggage, because it lets you brush your teeth during the flight and any layovers you might have.
- Visit the dentist before you leaveDon’t leave home with a toothache. If you’re experiencing any pain, make an appointment with your dentist before you leave. The last thing you need is a dental emergency far from home.
If you have fillings or have had other restorative treatment, ask your dentist to check your mouth before you fly. Air trapped in your teeth can expand or contract at extreme altitudes, causing pain, inflammation and even loose fillings, crowns or dentures. This condition, called “tooth squeeze” or barodontalgia, can also occur while scuba diving.
- Stick to your routineMost important: Don’t stray from your oral health routine. You may be on vacation, but plaque and harmful bacteria aren’t. Stick to brushing twice and flossing once a day to keep your teeth cavity-free.