Be Prepared: Dental Care While on Vacation

You are finally taking the vacation of your dreams! You are lounging around on the beach, enjoying a margarita, when suddenly it strikes—a horrible, horrible toothache. You hate the thought of spending the next 4 days in your hotel room (without eating or drinking anything because you are in pain), but what can you do?


Toothache Prevention

The best way to keep from getting a toothache in the first place is to make sure you take good care of your teeth, all the time. You know the routine—brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and make regular visits to the dentist.

You also might want to ask your dentist about fluoride or sealant treatments, for an extra layer of protection.

And, finally, make sure you cut back on sugary snacks—and if you just can’t resist them, make sure you brush well after you eat them so the sugar doesn’t just sit on your teeth.


When You Do Get a Toothache

Although teeth are just little things, a toothache can be quite painful—and there are many different ways teeth can hurt. They may look perfectly healthy, but they may be sensitive to heat or cold. They may hurt when you try to brush them, or even when you’re just chewing. Or, they may look very unhealthy, such as when gums around a tooth are swollen or bleeding.

Although taking care of your teeth is one way to prevent problems with them, sometimes even good brushing habits may not save you from tooth or jaw pain.

You may have a sinus infection or other issues with your ears or throat, or even have a problem with your temporomandibular joint. All of these may be mistaken for problems with your teeth.


What Do You Do if You Have a Toothache?

When you are on vacation, waiting around in a dentist office is about the last thing you want to do. So what can you do to try to take care of your tooth pain without going to a dentist?

While you can always try ibuprofen or acetaminophen, there are also a few other remedies that might speed up the relief. All it takes is a trip to the grocery store.

You can try gargling with some salt water. Use warm water and around a teaspoon of salt, dissolved. Or, you can try gargling hydrogen peroxide. You can also gargle with mouthwash that has alcohol in it, or even some whiskey or brandy.

How to care for your teeth while traveling.

There are also some things you can put directly on your tooth to help ease the pain:

  • Baby aspirin (put it right next to the tooth and let it dissolve)
  • A wet tea bag
  • Ground cloves
  • If you don’t want to gargle with whiskey or brandy, you can try soaking a cotton ball in the liquid and placing this by the tooth
  • Other liquids you can dip a cotton ball into and try: vanilla, almond, or peppermint extract, apple cider vinegar


When to See a Doctor

As much as you don’t want to spend your time off in a stuffy office somewhere, you should probably find a doctor if you have a fever or chills with your toothache, if your face or gums are swollen, if you notice a discharge around your tooth, if you’ve had a recent head injury, if you have chest pain along with any jaw or tooth pain, and if you are having trouble swallowing.


Whatever the cause, toothaches can be quite painful. However, there are some easy ways to prevent them in the first place. And, there are some simple remedies you can try if you do get a toothache, so that a painful mouth doesn’t ruin your dream vacation.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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If it's been more than 6 months since your last teeth cleaning, give us a call today to schedule your check-up.

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