A number of patients at our Park Slope orthodontic clinic are busy professionals who travel for work. Though, even our younger patients hit the road from time to time. Regardless of whether a trip is for business or fun, sometimes the change of scenery and the hours spent in vehicles or on planes make regular healthy habits fall to the wayside.
While we won’t judge if you decide to use your time away to take a hiatus from your daily green juice or Soul Cycle class, we do have to caution against taking a vacation from keeping your teeth in tip-top shape. It’s so important to maintain good dental care while traveling, particularly if you’re going through the effort to straighten your teeth with Invisalign or braces. So, here’s Fresh Orthodontics’ tips on how to keep good oral habits while traveling.
Travel Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
Put Together an Oral Health Travel Kit:
Keeping your mouth healthy while traveling will be a cinch if you have all of the necessary supplies in one place. Be sure to include a toothbrush, dental floss or your braces-friendly flossers, toothpaste, mouthwash and anything else that’s part of your regular oral hygiene routine. If applicable, also add some orthodontic wax, new Invisalign aligners if you’ll be swapping sets, and Invisalign or retainer cases.
It’s not just about what you pack, especially considering the majority of the places you travel to will have things like toothpaste if you forget it, but it’s also how you pack. Make sure you store your toothbrush in a well-ventilated container with holes for air and draining water. Otherwise, you’re creating a bacteria breeding ground. Clean your toothbrush and case before and after your trip. Also, if you can, make sure your brush and other tools are dry before throwing them in your bag.
Okay, so we’re not going to tell you not to have a vacation treat but throwing caution to the wind and indulging in tons of soda, sports drinks and candy will wreak havoc on your teeth and could lead to cavities. Enjoy sugary splurges in moderation and be sure to brush, or at least rinse, after having sweets or starches.
Stimulate That Saliva:
This is actually one of the best tips for clean teeth on the go and for preventing dry mouth due to travel. Saliva fights germs in your mouth and gives your teeth a dose of proteins and minerals that ward off cavities and gum disease. It also helps rinse away food bits and debris. Chewing sugar-free gum right after eating something if you can’t brush or floss will help you produce more saliva. If you wear braces, skip the gum and suck (never chomp!) on a sugar-free hard candy or, if possible, sip some green or black tea, which is also thought to protect your teeth.
Use Your Breaks Wisely:
A travel toothbrush can be your best friend on the road because you can easily bring it with you on bathroom breaks. Even if you just brush using water, you’ll still be able to get rid of any food or build-up. When you reach your destination, make sure to follow up with a thorough cleaning no matter how tired you are.
Know Who to Call in Case of Emergency:
Headed somewhere in the near future? It doesn’t hurt to research or ask your dentist or orthodontist for a recommendation in case you have a mouth-related issue.
As you can see, maintaining oral hygiene habits while on vacation or on a work-related journey isn’t that difficult. It just requires a tiny bit of discipline. For our patients at Fresh Orthodontics, keep in mind that we can help you out if you have a braces or Invisalign emergency while you’re away and need immediate assistance. Dr. Khanna may be a Brooklyn orthodontist, but his membership in study clubs and various organizations has allowed him to make connections with awesome orthodontic practices across the country, as well as some internationally. Give us a call and we’ll hook you up with a local orthodontist to save the day.