There’s no reason to sacrifice good oral health this holiday season. Whether you’re traveling near or far by car, plane, or boat, or for two days or two months, here’s what to pack to keep your teeth and gums in tip top shape this season.
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss
Of course, you would never leave home without your toothbrush. Just keep it clean by putting it in a case during travel but don’t leave it in there all the time – it needs to dry out in between brushings. Bring some fluoride toothpaste and floss, too. Look for single-use teeth wipes, too, the kind you put over your finger and scrub your teeth with. They’re perfect for freshening up en route when you’re far from a sink.
Stash some packs of sugar-free in your purse, suitcase, laptop bag, glove compartment, and any other convenient place for travel. When you can’t brush, chewing gum (always sugar free) is a good stop-gap measure to get saliva flowing, which reduces plaque.
Typical on-the-go snacks are terrible for teeth. Loaded with sugars and fermentable carbohydrates that lead to tooth decay, candy bars, chips, pretzels, and so on should be avoided. Instead, pack some snacks that are not only satisfying but are actually good for your teeth. Think: apples, cut up veggies, nuts (plain or salted, skip the honey roasted and cocoa dusted varieties), and cheese sticks.
Drinking water is great for your teeth because it washes away food particles that will otherwise hang out and cause decay and it helps with saliva production. Plus, it replaces other beverages that are bad for teeth, like acidic, sugar-laden juices and sodas that can erode enamel. So before you hit the road, grab some plastic bottles or, better yet, fill your own reusable water bottle with water to bring with you on your travels.
Your Dental or Orthodontic Gear
If you’ll be gone for more than a couple nights, bring along any gear you use at home. That includes removable retainers, night guards or mouth guards, elastics, etc. Bring along any cases you have to keep them safe, too. Although you might be tempted to leave them at home for the holidays, remember that your dentist or orthodontist wants you to use this gear for a reason, so use them as instructed for the best results.
One final thing to pack: your dentist and/or orthodontist’s phone number. Better yet, schedule a dental or orthodontic appointment before you go, especially if you’ll be traveling to a place without easy access to dental care (i.e., a month-long cruise or a mountain climbing expedition). Dental issues can ruin a good time and you don’t want to be dealing with a cracked filling, excruciating toothache, or broken braces on vacation.
You can see that it doesn’t take a lot of gear to keep up with your oral health this holiday. Just a little planning ahead is all you need, and your teeth and gums will thank you!