Travelling is good for the body and the mind. Researchers have found that those who travel and vacation regularly have a decreased risk of heart attack and coronary death. Furthermore, experts have associated travel with a lower likelihood of dementia.
But travelling isn't always good for your teeth.
When you travel, you may feel tempted to skip your normal dental routine in favour of early morning tours or late-night trips to local restaurants. If you don't take care, you may come back from your trip with more cavities than souvenirs.
To protect your teeth while on vacation, don't forget to do the following tasks.
1. Pack Your Dental Essentials in Your Carry-On
Most airports have strict guidelines as to how big your carry-on luggage can be. As a result, you have to carefully choose which items travel with you in the overhead compartment. You clearly need room for your passport, boarding pass and a spare change of clothing, so you may feel tempted to toss your toothbrush in your larger suitcase.
However, when you travel on a major airline, you still face a 1% chance of losing your luggage. Anything you don't have in your arms may end up on another flight or even in another country.
Rather than waiting days for your baggage to reach you (or spending extra money on replacements), pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouth rinse in your carry-on bag. If you have limited space, invest in smaller, travel-sized dental items.
No room in your carry-on? Should you lose your luggage, talk to the friendly airport staff and customer service. Many major airlines offer complimentary essentials kits to ensure you have a positive experience.
2. Choose Snacks With Care
When you travel, you have the opportunity to try a dazzling array of new foods. Exotic cheeses, enticing desserts and spicy meats will excite your tastebuds and leave you hungry for more.
But though these toothsome treats may expand your palate in delightful ways, they could prove harmful to your teeth, especially if you neglect to brush after eating. That scoop of mixed berry trifle has more than enough sugar to rot your teeth. That plate of savoury curry likely contains enough turmeric to stain your smile. And even that bag of in-flight almonds could crack a molar or chip an incisor.
While you can still nibble on new dishes during your trip, exercise a little caution and do some research before you take that first bite. Learn which ingredients might stain or damage your teeth (such as tomato sauce or lemon wedges), and limit the foods you eat with these harmful components.
If you do indulge in new foods, remember to rinse your mouth with water after eating and chew on sugarfree gum. When you snack between meals, opt for tooth-friendly foods such as apples, carrots or cheese.
3. Give Your Toothbrush Some Air
As you explore new places, you may have to keep most of your belongings tucked safely away in your suitcase. When you keep your clothing, shoes and electronics in your baggage, you can be ready to go at a moment's notice, whether you need to catch an early flight or hike a nearby trail to see the sunrise.
But though your travel toothbrush comes with a convenient carrying case, remember to let your toothbrush dry completely before stuffing it back into a bag. Moist, closed environments allow the bacteria lingering on your bristles to breed and multiply. If you keep your toothbrush in the open air, most of the harmful bacteria will die before you clean your teeth again.
4. Schedule a Cleaning Before You Leave
If you haven't seen your dentist recently, schedule a cleaning and examination before you take your vacation. Although you may be able to ignore that dull toothache when grounded, you may find that the pain sharpens at higher altitudes, making your flight a miserable experience. Additionally, if you leave the country, you might struggle to find a reliable dentist who can address your concerns once you land again.
At your cleaning, ask your dentist about any questions you may have about maintaining your teeth while travelling to your destination. Your dentist may advise you to use bottled water to brush your teeth or to avoid specific foods that could harm your smile.
Enjoy Your Trip!
These tips will make maintaining your smile a breeze, no matter if you plan to travel across the country or across the world. If you remember to brush, floss and rinse your mouth during your trip, you can enjoy a brighter smile as well as a pleasant trip.