A family vacation doesn’t mean a vacation from taking care of your teeth. Whether you’re planning a quick visit to grandma this weekend or will be on the road all summer long, use these simple strategies to keep your family’s oral hygiene on track.
1) Bring What You Need
Don’t count on getting the basics once you arrive at your destination – bring them with you! If space is at a premium, pack travel-size toothpaste, a small or foldable toothbrush, and a mini floss. Alternatively, each member of the family can bring their own toothbrush but share a larger size toothpaste and floss. A snap-on case for the toothbrush head saves space, too. Just be sure you don’t keep your brush in the case all the time, as it needs to dry out between uses to keep bacteria at bay.
If you wear a retainer, nightguard, headgear, elastic bands, or other appliance at home, do the same while you’re on vacation. If you wear braces and use a water flosser instead of string floss, bring that, too. Yes, the extra equipment takes up space, but remember that skipping it could mean a longer treatment time.
2) Check Up on the Little Ones
The kids may be stars when it comes to brushing morning and night at home, but don’t assume they’ll keep up the habit when they’re out of their typical routine on vacation. It’s a good idea to watch them to ensure they’re really brushing and flossing like they’re supposed to.
3) Use Finger Tooth Wipes On the Go
Sometimes it’s just not possible to brush your teeth while you’re out and about. In those situations, give your teeth a quick clean with a disposable tooth wipe that fits over the index finger. While it doesn’t replace a proper brushing session, it does the trick when you have no other options to remove some plaque and help freshen breath. They can typically be found in the oral hygiene aisle or can be purchased online.
4) Chew Gum
Chewing gum is a good way to get saliva flowing, which is good for your teeth. Saliva helps clear food particles away and also helps strengthen the enamel. That’s why it’s smart to keep enough gum for the whole family on you at all times while traveling. Just make sure it’s sugar-free!
5) Drink Water
Last but not least, drinking water is a simple way to boost oral hygiene, on vacation (and at home, too!). It helps with saliva production, washes away food particles, and prevents dry mouth, which is associated with more cavities and gum disease. If you’re in a place where the tap water quality is iffy, use bottled water instead. Green tea has also been shown to be good for teeth, but only drink it as a water substitute if you’ve brewed it yourself, as many commercially bottled varieties are full of sugar and acids, both of which are bad for teeth.
As you can see, a little planning ahead goes a long way towards maintaining great oral health. It doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to keep your family’s teeth and gums healthy on vacation. Safe travels!