Anytime we are away from home and out of our normal routine, it is easy to let oral hygiene habits lapse. Factoring in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can throw off even the most health-conscious person among us! But the consequences of taking a vacation from oral health are very serious — not brushing and flossing can lead to cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.
With a little planning, you can enjoy your holiday travel and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Read on as Dr. Jason Keefe of 5 Mile Smiles shares his best tips.
Transport Your Supplies Properly
When packing for a trip, use a good-sized container or bag with enough room to fit all of your oral health supplies: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouth rinse and nightguard (if you wear one). Don’t throw your toothbrush in with the rest of your toiletries — instead, store it in a holder with holes for ventilation. When you arrive at your destination, store the brush upright in a cup to allow it to dry in between uses.
Pack Sugarless Gum
Chewing sugarless gum not only relieves ear pressure on flights, but it may help to reduce the risk of cavities. Chewing gum stimulates saliva flow, which washes away food particles and bacteria after meals and snacks.
Keep Your Supplies Handy on Long Flights
Speaking of flights, keep your toothbrush and toothpaste handy by packing them in your purse or carry-on. That way, you can brush your teeth in between meals or to freshen up when you reach your destination, without having to dig through a huge suitcase.
Have a Backup Plan
Losing a toothbrush or toothpaste can happen. If you’re in a pinch, you can brush without toothpaste (but be mindful to use good brushing technique). Or, if you lose your brush, dab a bit of toothpaste on your fingers and gently brush your teeth and gums.
Be Mindful of the Local Tap Water
If you’re traveling to the wilderness or an exotic destination where you cannot drink the local tap water, it’s not safe to brush your teeth with it, either. Use bottled or boiled water to brush your teeth and rinse your toothbrush. If your toothbrush accidentally comes in contact with the tap water, toss it and buy a new one; if that’s not an option, rinse the brush thoroughly with bottled water.
Limit Consumption of Sweets
While it’s all right to enjoy an occasional sweet treat, try to keep your sugar consumption in check. Limit yourself to one or two treats a day and make sure you’re eating balanced meals full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
Book an Appointment with Dr. Keefe
If you’re due for a cleaning, we suggest you try to schedule it before any holiday travel, so you can leave for your trip with peace of mind. To schedule your visit, please contact 5 Mile Smiles today.