When on the road, do you brush your teeth the way you do when you’re at home? Probably not. It’s easy to forget proper oral hygiene when you’re jumping between hotel rooms, stuck on the train, rushing to catch a flight, or enjoying delicious treats. Then factor in the possible lack of sanitation.
There are smart ways to work around these inconveniences. Practicing good dental care when traveling starts even before you hit the road. And it works best if continued after you return.
What to prepare before you leave
Choose travel-size dental products .
After visiting your dentist for a routine check, pack a hygiene kit that you can easily fish out anytime you need to use the toilet. This may include a foldable toothbrush, a mini pack of floss, and toothpaste tablets. Regular-sized toothpaste tubes are not allowed in most aircrafts, and they run the risk of bursting inside your bag. Consider this when choosing travel-safe alternatives.
What to remember when traveling
Store and clean your toothbrush properly
Storing your toothbrush upright and air-drying it after use. This is because bacteria can build up in dark and wet spaces like your toiletry bag.
Schedule your brushing and flossing
Simply making it a point to brush and floss within 30 minutes after you eat. It also helps to bring enough supply of oral hygiene essentials to last throughout the trip.
Use drinking water for brushing While it’s always best to minimize waste by carrying your own water container, it’s okay to use bottled water for brushing your teeth in dire situations. Do this if you’re in an unfamiliar place, in the wilderness, or anywhere that has compromised water supply. If you think that your toothbrush has been exposed to unsafe water, replace it right away or clean it with salt water.
Stay on Track with a Travel Kit
It can be very easy to stray from an oral hygiene routine while traveling, especially when we stay up later or sleep in. But, if you skip the floss or forget to brush, this can be problematic to your oral health and cause plaque to form. Stashing a travel kit in your glove compartment or carry on can help keep your oral hygiene items within reach. Simply fill your kit with travel-sized essentials like toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and fluoridated mouthwash to keep your breath fresh and teeth cavity-free.
Drink Plenty of Water
Traveling gives us ample opportunity to drink more alcoholic and sugary beverages that we may not typically consume on a daily basis. But tiki drinks, soda, wine, beer, and other acidic beverages can damage tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. While you can still enjoy these beverages, drinking more water will help clean your teeth, wash away bacteria, neutralize acid, and stimulate healthy saliva production. To keep your teeth healthy, simply drink water between sips of acidic beverages. Better yet, swish the water around your mouth to get your teeth extra clean.
Brush & Floss During Pit Stops
A good way to keep your oral health at the forefront of your mind is to brush your teeth at every pit stop. Whether you arrive at the airport for a layover, fuel up your car, or pull over in a rest area, let these breaks serve as a reminder to brush and floss your teeth. This rule is especially helpful for young kids who may still need to be reminded to brush.
Bring Healthy Snacks
Vacation is the perfect time to try adventurous foods and stray from our otherwise healthy diets. While there is a time and place for dessert, it’s always best to reach for oral health-boosting foods during a long road trip or layover — especially if you don’t know when you will be able to brush your teeth next. Instead of packing candy or dried fruit, stash nutrient-dense snacks in your bag to ward off infection and strengthen your teeth. Foods like carrot sticks, celery, apple slices, hard boiled eggs, cheese, and nuts are all nutritious snacks that can keep your mouth healthy whether you’re traveling by car, train, or plane.