Whether for work or pleasure, travel is like an unraveling ball of yarn with changing colors. There are good times and stressful times, and the preparation is a feat unto itself. What chances there are to suffer stress from travel typically come from the little things that make a big difference: bringing enough underwear, remembering your deodorant, forgetting to pack your toothbrush.
Traveling represents a substantial step out of your daily grind, which doesn’t always come as a break in routine but by positively smashing them. Forgetting your toothbrush or toothpaste can be as disruptive as the changes in your diet, and what those changes mean for your breath and teeth can be horrendous.
Oral hygiene habits are (perhaps unsurprisingly) the first to suffer when you hit the road. That’s why we’ve provided a quick overview of some of the dental hygiene hurdles you might encounter while traveling. We’ll also teach you how to overcome them!
The importance of pre-departure dental check–ups
It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination: you arrive to your destination, enjoy the first few nights of revelry, and wake up mid-week with a toothache. You think it’s the food or the drink, but it gets worse, and within two days you’re hardly eating anything. Where do you go to fix it? Does your dental insurance even cover the area you’ve ventured to?
Scheduling regular dental check-ups is always important, but before departing for far-off destinations it’s that much more important to get your teeth checked out. Your dentist can detect problems before you find yourself far from home. Better yet, take your dentist’s number with you so that you can call in case of emergency.
Keep your dental kit handy
Toothbrush, favorite toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, nightguard: whatever dental equipment you use at home, it’s a huge mistake not to pack it. And when you remember to bring it, be sure to use it without skipping a beat. If you remember to pack it but deviate from your regular care, you can find yourself in just as bad of shape as if you’d forgotten to pack your kit altogether.
Also, remember that it’s just as common to forget to pack care items when you’re returning home. Be sure to keep these items top-of-mind.
Let’s say you forgot or lost your toothbrush, floss and mouthwash, and you out camping in the middle of nowhere. The next best thing is to rinse and swish vigorously with water, and eat crunchy, naturally-brushing vegetable like carrots or celery. Of course, it will depend what you have on hand.
New foods, new bacteria
Traveling makes maintaining your preferred diet a little tricky, particularly when you’re on vacation and want to enjoy yourself. Foods you’re tempted by away from home are typically not just unhealthy in terms of fats, sodium and cholesterol, but bad for the natural pH and balance of bacteria in your mouth.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re tempted by, try to steer clear of some of worst offenders. Carbonated sodas and sticky sweets will not be easily forgiven by your teeth. And, if you won’t be able to brush right away, that might be a reason to be a little more diligent with your restaurant selections—save the sticky sweets for when you know you can brush afterword.
That said, vacation is about enjoying yourself. Whatever foods out of the ordinary you do eat, be sure to brush and floss and otherwise stay on your best behavior when it comes to your teeth. Carry your dentist’s phone number, and make the most of your time away without any inconvenience from these common oral hygiene hurdles while traveling.