Whether you're backpacking for months at a time or you have a special family trip planned, keeping up with regular hygiene habits while you're on the road can be challenging. Lack of access to bathrooms, minimal packing space, and other factors can affect how you stick to your routine. But although your daily schedule may be different than at home, maintaining good dental habits with these simple dental hygiene travel tips is crucial to your health.
Importance of Oral Hygiene
The American Dental Association and your dentist stress good oral hygiene practices for you and your family for many reasons. Brushing your teeth after eating and flossing at least once a day removes bacterial plaque from your teeth. This sticky film of bacteria is the culprit that causes cavities and gum disease. And while it may seem like a small thing, your oral health affects your overall health, so it's important to make it a priority.
What to Include in Your Travel Oral Hygiene Kit
You can find premade travel oral hygiene kits or create your own. Since you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months, right before a trip is the perfect time to get new brushes for everyone in the family. Use a ventilated case to store your toothbrush so your brush can dry out between uses.
Your kit should also contain floss and/or interdental cleaners, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Keep in mind that if you're flying, there may be limitations on how much liquid you can bring in your carry-on bag. So stick to travel-sized toothpaste and mouthwash.
Along with your other essentials, keep your oral hygiene kit in your carry-on in case your checked luggage is lost. On long flights, being able to brush your teeth or swish with mouthwash before you land can also help you feel refreshed and ready for the next leg of your trip.
Keeping Your Mouth Healthy While Traveling
While brushing your teeth is a key part of good dental hygiene, your diet plays a role too. In addition to keeping your kit accessible, pay attention to the food and drinks you consume to avoid excessive bacteria growth. Sticking to healthy foods can help reduce the risk of cavities. For example, cheese, carrot sticks, and celery are good snack options in place of candy and cookies. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables can also be a great option to minimize mess on the road.
Other ways to care for your oral health while traveling include:
- Drinking water after every meal
- Checking the water quality in the location you're traveling to or sticking to bottled water
- Packing an extra toothbrush in a different bag to avoid having to go without
- Using sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production, which can help rinse your teeth
No one wants to come back from vacation and get a poor bill of health from their dentist. By packing a well-equipped dental hygiene travel kit, eating nutritious foods, and following some simple dental health guidelines, you can stay on top of your oral health while enjoying your trip.
Replacing your toothbrush before your trip? Learn how to recycle your old toothbrush with TerraCycle and Tom's of Maine.
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Why It's Good
Maintaining good eating and oral care habits, even when on vacation, can ensure your next dental visit will be a good one.