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 properlyThe American Dental Association recommends 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. But if it can’t be helped, you can use a portable UV sanitizer to kill germs and dry out the bristles even when you’re in transit. This dental care tip also works if you just don’t trust the air inside the hotel bathroom.
Schedule your brushing and flossing
Following a brushing routine is easy when you’re at home. But it can be hard to track if you’re going through time zone changes. Stick to your regimen by setting phone reminders or by 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. What if your toothpaste gets smeared under the weight of your laptop? It’s great to have toothpaste tablets around just in case. That way, you'll have lesser excuse to skip the habit.
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 a sanitizer.
What to do after you return
Schedule a dentist appointment
Don’t beat yourself up if you have indulged in lots of sweet and acidic food or if you’ve set flossing aside for days. Just get back to your normal routine. Pay your dentist a visit too to check for any damage, especially if you’ve participated in rough sports during your vacation.
Proper oral hygiene is something that you should take with you anywhere you go. Do you have other dental care tips for jet-setters? How do you take care of your teeth when traveling?
MOUTHFUL strives to promote better understanding of sustainable dental health and oral hygiene practices. While we seek credible sources and cite them in our posts, this article does not intend to stand as professional advice. Please reach out to your dentist or a medical expert if you have questions regarding a health condition or treatment.