Travel Dental Care Tips

Travel-related items in a small trunk

Traveling opens a world of adventure, from exploring ancient ruins to lounging on pristine beaches. Amidst the excitement, it’s easy to let your dental care routine slide down your list of priorities. However, maintaining oral health is critical, especially when you’re away from home comforts and familiar routines.

Whether you’re backpacking across continents or jet-setting for business, a few simple tips can ensure your smile stays as bright and healthy, no matter where the journey takes you.

Packing Your Travel Dental Kit

A well-prepared travel dental kit is your first line of defense against dental issues on the road. A few essentials you’ll need to pack in your luggage include:

  • Toothbrush. Opt for a compact, travel-sized toothbrush. If you prefer an electric toothbrush, consider its battery life or the availability of charging facilities during your journey. If you take your charger, make sure you also pack an adapter compatible with your destination’s outlets.
  • Toothpaste. A small, travel-sized tube of toothpaste is convenient and airport security-friendly. Ensure it’s fluoride-based and contains enough doses for twice-daily brushing throughout your trip.
  • Floss. Daily flossing removes plaque and food particles your toothbrush can’t reach. Pack a small container of floss or mini dental picks, and don’t forget to take them with you in your carry-on so you can care for your teeth mid-flight.
  • Mouthwash. A small bottle of mouthwash can help maintain fresh breath and reduce bacteria. Always choose an alcohol-free version and ensure the bottle is TSA-approved; any bottles larger than 3.4 ounces must go in your checked baggage.
  • Sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol can stimulate saliva production, helping to cleanse the teeth and neutralize acids. It can also reduce pressure buildup in your ears during take-off and landing.
  • Dental wax. If you have braces, dental wax can help manage any wires or brackets that might cause discomfort.

Maintaining Dental Health While Traveling

Maintaining your dental health routine doesn’t have to be complicated, even when you’re on the move. Keep your routine simple and easy to keep up with using the following tips:

  • Stick to your routine. Continue brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Travel can disrupt your routine, but maintaining these habits is vital.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps keep your mouth clean and supports overall health. Always check the tap water quality at your destination to ensure it is safe to drink. If not, buy plenty of bottled water to sip on and rinse your mouth after brushing.
  • Be mindful of what you eat. Try to eat a balanced diet and limit sugary snacks and beverages, which can lead to tooth decay. Munch on crunchy raw fruits and vegetables as snacks; the fiber in these foods can help to remove plaque and bacteria.

Handling Dental Emergencies Abroad

Dental emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. If you are overseas and need dental care, contact the local consulate or U.S. embassy for assistance. They usually list recommended local health professionals for diplomats and their families to use.

While the embassy or consulate does not endorse or guarantee the quality of service provided by the professionals on the list, it is a valuable resource for travelers needing medical or dental assistance abroad.

Here’s how to handle a dental emergency while traveling:

  • Research before you go. Before traveling, research local dentists or dental clinics in your destination, especially if you’re going to a remote area.
  • Travel insurance. Ensure your travel insurance covers dental emergencies. This can relieve the stress of unexpected expenses.
  • Temporary solutions. Over-the-counter dental cement can quickly fix minor issues like a lost filling until you can see a dentist.
  • Seek immediate help for serious issues. For severe pain, swelling, or trauma, seek immediate dental care. Don’t wait until you return home.

Get Your Oral Health Back on Track After Your Trip

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve neglected brushing and flossing or enjoyed too many sweet treats while traveling. Once you return home, resume your routine of brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing.

Schedule a pre-vacation dental checkup at Valley Dental Care to reduce the risk of any issues occurring and disrupting your travel plans. Book your appointment at our Aurora or Oswego locations.