After a long and stressful 2020 – it is finally the holiday season! Covid may change some things about the way we celebrate and meet with family this year, but traveling to see family is still a big part of the holidays for a lot of us. Whether it is this year or in the future, here are some good tips to keep in mind for maintaining your oral health when you travel. It can be challenging to be without the same routines as home, but there are ways to continue what is important:

  1. Make sure to pack your toothbrush! It seems simple but can be forgotten when you are thinking of so many things at once; but making sure to always bring your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you so it is always accessible. If you do forget, make sure to find options for you at a local pharmacy or convenience store. Never share a toothbrush with anyone else to avoid sharing bacteria and viruses that can cause things like cavities and other diseases.
  2. Keep your toothbrush clean and dry as much as possible. Either electric or manual toothbrushes have options for a travel case with vented holes or a plastic holder for the top of the brush with holes. These can help keep your toothbrush separate from other things in your suitcase, but the holes allow to also keep it dry and helps avoid bacteria growing on it. Try to dry if possible before packing as well.
  3. If you use an electric toothbrush at home, you have some options for when you travel. If you have a travel case for the electric you can bring it in the case, or if it is easier you can temporarily use a manual toothbrush just for the time when traveling. Also, even if you cannot bring the charger, you can still use the electric brush for as long as it will hold charge. On longer or international trips – keep in mind differences in outlets for charging that may need to be accounted for, with options for outlet converters or a USB charger to use with your laptop.
  4. Make sure to brush before sleeping, even when your routines may be different or off-schedule. On longer plane rides or with time changes, your schedule may be off during the time you travel. Taking the time to brush and floss, even in an airport restroom or whenever you can, can help you make sure to not let anything stay stuck on your teeth while sleeping to prevent decay. It will help you feel fresh and stay on routine with so many other changes happening.
  5. If you experience any emergency or tooth-related pain, teledentistry is an option that can help. It can be stressful if you are away from your dental home and have a question or concern and need help. With teledentistry options, you can consult with a dentist over the phone or video call to ask questions or gauge if the concern is enough to need urgent emergency care where you are, if there are things to try yourself to help, and if it can wait until you get back home. It can also be a resource for options locally that you can use.

Whatever your travel plans are for this holiday season, stay safe and healthy and as always keep your oral health in mind!

Susan Walker

Author Susan Walker

As a hygienist for Virtudent, Susan works to bring preventative dental care to patients in their workplace. After graduating from both Boston University and Forsyth College at Mass College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Susan worked in private practice for about five years and saw firsthand many issues for patients having access to quality care. When Susan is not helping spread greater grins at Virtudent, she volunteers with Helping Hands, Women's Lunchplace of Boston, and also serves on the legislative action committee at the MSPCA.

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