The holidays bring a fair share of dental hazards: more sugar, more starch, and familial distractions that make paying attention to oral care difficult. However, traveling for the holidays only makes these issues worse because you’re now out of your comfort zone. Traveling makes it more difficult to stay on top of your current routine, including oral hygiene. It makes it more difficult to say no to food and drinks that would otherwise be damaging to your teeth and gums.
If you’re trying to protect your smile while you’re on the road this holiday season, take note of these four tips from a dentist.
Do Not Use Your Teeth as a Tool
When you’ve packed a bag of nuts but forgot to pack a nutcracker, you may be tempted to use your teeth to crack the shells and get the tasty treats inside. Doing this will not only wear down your enamel prematurely, but increase your risk of cracking a tooth in the process. The last thing you want to happen is a dental emergency, especially now that you’re far away from a dentist.
The same applies for when you’re wrapping gifts and inevitably need to rip apart a piece of tape or a bow. Whatever gift you’re wrapping is not worth the damage you’re doing to your teeth.
Skip the Chewy and Hard Holiday Treats
Hard and chewy foods like caramel or taffy have a tendency to get caught in between teeth and behind hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. If they stay there long enough, bacteria will be more capable of attacking the teeth and gums. Overall, chewy foods are much more difficult to remove, so avoid the hassle and skip them altogether, at least until you get home.
Don’t Fall for Old Habits
It’s no secret that traveling can be very stressful. If you’re stressed, you’re more likely to fall back into old habits. These may include nail-biting, teeth grinding, and even skipping your oral care routine once or even twice a day. People often hold the mentality that if they’re on vacation, bad habits are okay while they’re traveling.
While you can get away with eating a fattening meal here and there, your teeth aren’t going to care if you’re on vacation. At the very least, you should be brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing daily.
Fully Pack Your Oral Care Kit
When packing your oral care kit, you should always start with your toothpaste, toothbrush and floss. But what other oral care products are unique to your needs? Do you use a tongue scraper? How about a fluoridated mouth rinse? Do you use clear aligners or dentures? If so, it’s worth it to pack backups and keep them inside carry-on luggage in the event that your checked luggage is lost.
Don’t get caught with a cavity next year. To ensure your oral health is ready for your trip, schedule an appointment with an emergency dentist beforehand!
About the Author
Dr. Karl Arakelian earned his DMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an advocate for preventive dentistry and works hard to teach patients the most essential tips to maintaining oral health and preventing dental emergencies, both at home and abroad. To learn more about his practice, you can contact him through his website.