Load up the planes, trains, automobiles and boats. Summertime travel is officially here!
This summer around 85% of Americans plan to vacation – that’s up 42% from last year! Whether it’s a camping road trip, a European tour or a tropical cruise, millions of people will be on the road now through Labor Day.
Summer travel is a perfect time to unwind, but it’s also when many of us put our dental hygiene on vacation mode too.
Whether it’s traveling for hours in a car or plane, jumping into new time zones, or visiting places that alter your diet, or eating times, any of these things can derail your dental hygiene routine.
Fortunately, you can still embrace all the fun of your vacation travels without becoming a hygiene slacker. Here are some helpful summer travel oral hygiene survival tips.
Summer Travel Oral Hygiene Survival Tips!
- Watch Out for Certain Foods – When you can’t brush your teeth as often as you’d like, beware of eating certain foods that have a lot of sugar like sports or granola bars, are sticky like dried fruits, acidic such as diet soft drinks or wine, or starchy foods like fries & goldfish.
- Eat Foods that Clean Your Mouth – When it’s convenient, pack foods or eat foods that help clean your mouth and wash out cavity causing bacteria – celery and other high fiber veggies, as well fruits like apples. These foods will stimulate your saliva flow, which will keep your mouth clean until you’re able to floss and brush.
- Keep Yourself Hydrated – Carry some water along with you wherever you go. Besides preventing dehydration, the water will also flush bacteria out and wash your teeth, especially after you’ve eaten starchy or sugary foods. Keeping the water handy will also help if you suffer from chronic dry mouth.
- Pack a Straw – If you can’t go on a road trip without a soft drink, use a stray to drink it! This will help lower the amount of sugar (and acids) on your teeth, as well as reduce tooth stains!
- Bring Some Back Up Support – Flying? Bring an extra toothbrush and floss in your carry-on. You can brush/floss after your flight meals, and you’ll also be prepared in case…your checked-in baggage doesn’t arrive.
- Don’t Let Jet Lag Throw You Off – Traveling through different time zones and fighting jet lag can throw you off your routine, especially when you don’t remember the last time you cleaned your teeth. Try to remember to brush or floss every 10 hours, or at least every 20 minutes after you eat a meal.
- Add Some Tooth Friendly Foods – Your diet will slide, but make room for some smart food choices – You’re on vacation! It’s time to celebrate, so live a little! Most likely you’ll be eating out more, and indulging more too. No need to ruin all the fun, just remember to incorporate some healthier tooth friendly foods now and then, and when you can’t brush your teeth try rinsing your mouth out with water following meals.
- Protect Your Teeth – We hope this doesn’t happen, but accidents happen. Having a toothache or an inured tooth is a real inconvenient travel downer, especially when your dentist is miles away. What to do? Unfortunately, your travel destination will determine what types of dental options you might have, especially if you’re traveling someplace off the beaten path. While you can’t control a dental emergency from happening, you can minimize them by staying on top of your annual dental exams and teeth cleanings. These will can definitely help reduce unexpected surprises like tooth aches. And if you’re planning on doing any sports or recreational activities – surfing, biking, even jogging – you might consider wearing a custom fitted sports mouth guard to protect your teeth. It also helps to be mindful of what you chew – ice, hard candies – and beware of the other foods that can damage your teeth. Nobody needs a toothache to get in the way of a beautiful vacation!
Fun Times, Safe Travels + Healthy Teeth!
Wherever you wind up this summer, we hope your summer travels are fun. Adding some of these oral hygiene tips when you’re on the road will help keep your teeth healthy, and help prevent any dental surprises once you’re back at home. Safe travels, Aloha!
P.S. Schedule Back to School Check Ups Now – Summer is also an excellent time to get your family’s dental check-ups and teeth cleanings scheduled before school starts up again. Between your summer travels, if you still need to schedule an appointment, or change one, please call us at (206) 524-1000 or reach out to us online!