Picture of 2 travel-sized kits to make oral health on vacation easy, in pink and blue, containing travel sized toothbrush, paste, and other oral care items.

Oral Health on Vacation: 3 Tips for Staying on Top of it

Summertime is here! Little ones are out of school and ready to have some fun in the sun and sand. Parents and grandparents can’t wait for long walks on the beach, savoring sunrises and sunsets and making memories with family and friends.

Whether that sounds like you, and it’s the ocean that calls your name or you prefer a quiet trail along the Blue Ridge parkway, summertime is one of the best seasons for taking a much needed vacation and getting outdoors to enjoy it.

Getting away from the routine is a perk of vacationing, enjoying longer, lazier mornings with a cup of coffee in hand and no pressure to be anywhere or do anything. What’s tempting during the downtime is letting every routine go… even the healthy ones! 

No matter where you’re vacationing, oral care is one of the healthy routines to keep up. You may be thinking, “But that’s too hard…” So let’s talk about the challenges of taking care of your teeth when you’re on vacation and what you can do to make dental health care easier to keep up with while you’re away.

The Challenges of Oral Health Care on Vacation

What are the challenges of keeping up your daily dental routine on vacation? 

Packing Oral Health Supplies

Well, there’s the difficulty of packing everything. You know what we’re talking about, don’t you? Stuffing in a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss takes up space. Mouthwash adds another challenge if you’re trying to fit everything into one small bag for a flight across the country. 

Shifting Routines

And what about the routine that you’ve said goodbye to so you can relax while you’re away? Everything is different when you’re traveling, so your normal habits can easily get brushed aside. 

Eating Any and Everything 

For most of us, vacation means enjoying a lot of different food. We’re typically eating out more than usual and indulging in dessert more than we do at home. 

These are all significant challenges, but they’re not impossible to overcome.

Try These Tips To Overcome Vacation Dental Health Challenges 

“As you pack for your next trip, start thinking about your dental routines while traveling. Bringing along oral care necessities and putting a plan in place for on-the-go cleanings will help you maintain healthy teeth and a bright smile.” 

What can we do to prepare for the challenges in advance and stay on track with our dental health care… even when we’re on vacation?

Tip #1 – Plan Ahead

If you haven’t had a dental checkup in awhile, be sure to schedule one before you go on vacation — or just after you’ll be getting back — so your dental team can be sure your teeth stay in tip-top shape. 

Instead of struggling to pack full-sized toothpaste, brush, floss, and mouthwash, stop by your local drugstore and pick up travel sizes of each one. Your favorite toothpaste may not be available in a smaller size, so be flexible and pick out one that you think will work well for you for the short time you’ll be gone. 

Tip #2 – Create a Vacation Routine That Works For You

You may be jet-lagged from your travel or just out of sorts from going to bed later and sleeping in the next morning, but you’ll want to create a routine that works for you. Put your supplies — brush, paste, floss, and mouthwash — in the bathroom so that it’s easy to access and not easy to forget. No matter what time you get up or go to bed, you’ll have a reminder to brush and floss. 

If you’re out all day, you may be eating on the go, but as long as you’re brushing in the morning when you get up and at night before you go to bed, you’re keeping a good vacation routine that you (and your dentist!) can smile about. 

Tip #3 – Enjoy Eating Without Tossing All Your Healthy Food Habits Aside

“Summer is all about fresh foods so look for seasonal veggies and the catch of the day.  Avoid those high fat appetizers and say no to the bread basket.  And, if you must indulge, split an appetizer or dessert.  If you are enjoying a local brew or featured cocktail, remember juice-based drinks are filled with sugar, so opt for low calorie mixers.”

The Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionists over at Nourish offer practical 

tips for indulging without guilt:

  • Pack healthy snacks – This will make it easier to grab something that’s good for you rather than whatever you can find when you’re craving something salty or sweet. Fruit, nuts, protein snack bars, nut butters, popcorn, yogurt, and cheese sticks are just some of the recommendations you can try. 
  • Stay active – Get outdoors. Explore the local trails. Go for a bike ride. Kayak. Walk on the beach. Exercise even more than you usually do to make up for the extra calories you’re eating.
  • Drink lots of water – You’ll stay hydrated and won’t feel as hungry as often.
  • “‘Treat yourself’ the same way AWAY from home that you do AT home” – “Be mindful, be present, be the same person you try to be at home.”

Wrap Up!

As you’re planning for your summer vacation this year, remember to plan ahead so you don’t run into any dental trouble along the way. Be sure everyone has travel sized toothbrushes and paste, be ready to create a routine that works for you and your family while you’re away, and be careful to indulge mindfully… without tossing all the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard to put in place at home. 

We wish you safety in your travels! Know that if you happen to have a dental emergency while you’re away, you can still reach out to our office for guidance on how to handle it. We can help you decide the best course of action — whether that’s finding a local dentist to help or scheduling an emergency follow-up for your return home. 

Planning your vacation and need to schedule your pre-travel appointment? Give the team at TrueCare Dentistry a call today.