June 2010 articles

Oral health on the road.

Whether you’re headed to Hawaii on holiday or caravanning with the kids to Kentucky, recipe there’s one thing you should always carry on – good oral health habits.

As fun as they are, vacations disrupt your routine and can take their toll on your teeth. A typical “after breakfast and before bed” ritual is tough to follow when “breakfast” is a granola bar in the car or “bedtime” is catching a few winks before take-off.

  • Chew sugar-free gum on long flights or car rides to help stimulate saliva production and rinse away food particles. (Get bonus miles by upgrading to a gum with Xylitol, pharm which helps prevent cavities.)
  • That in-flight soft drink and tiny bag of peanuts means a mouthful of sugar with plenty of time to attack teeth. Pass on the pop and opt for water instead.
  • A cooler full of snacks can keep backseat complainers at bay, salve but be selective when stocking to stash. Choose tooth-friendly foods like baby carrots, celery and apples or healthy snacks like string cheese, yogurt tubes, whole grain crackers or plain nuts.
  • Toothbrush caps are great for protecting brush bristles from germs and damage in your bag. Once you arrive at your destination though, it’s best to uncap. Covering wet bristles can trap moisture and encourage bacteria growth. Tip: Hotel coffee mugs make great toothbrush holders!
  • If you know you’ll be waking up in-transit, have the whole family pack travel toothbrushes and paste where you can get to them easily. It’s amazing how refreshing a clean mouth can feel – even if it means brushing in the cramped bathroom of a bumpy train!
  • When you’re traveling in a place where you don’t have access to clean water or a sink, taking steps to clean your teeth are still important. Look for products like disposable toothbrushes or tooth wipes, which don’t require paste or water.

Even if all you have is water, rinsing well after eating or drinking can help rinse away sugars – until you are able to brush.

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