Season of Travel: Brushing on the Go

family dental care walking luggage at terminal

The end of the school year is fast approaching and many people are looking forward to a good vacation! If you are lucky enough to afford a trip to the great unknown don’t forget to pack your toothbrush. Here is some helpful information you can use to take good care of your teeth when you’re away from home.

TSA Travel Tips

  • All liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes must be in a 1 quart clear plastic bag.
  • Each individual item cannot exceed 3.4 ounces – or 100 millimeters.
  • The plastic bag holding your liquid items must be at the top of your carry-on luggage so it is easy to get to in case TSA wants to get a closer look.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends getting a dental checkup before you go on a big trip. This will help you make sure that you don’t have to worry about any toothaches while you are gone. This way you can really enjoy your trip.
It is also a great time to get a free toothbrush and toothpaste for while you travel. The toothpaste is the perfect size to fit inside your 1 quart plastic bag. And the free toothbrush is nice because then you don’t have to lug around a bulky electric toothbrush, or whatever type you have at home, and risk losing or breaking it.

Forgot your toothbrush?

If you do end up forgetting your toothbrush a good trick is to put a little toothpaste on your clean finger or wash cloth. Move it around your teeth on all sides and let the toothpaste sit on your teeth for at least 60 seconds. This will allow it time to kill the harmful bacteria in your mouth.
When you’re eating out, rinse your mouth with water after every meal, or chew some sugar free gum. This helps to remove large food particles. It also gets the saliva flowing which is nature’s way of cleaning your teeth! Follow this up with some dental floss to clean out the hard to reach places and you’re good to go.

Forgot your toothpaste?

What happens if you have your toothbrush, but forgot your toothpaste? No problem, you can always brush your teeth without toothpaste. Bacteria feed off the food that is on your teeth, so if you can at least get rid of the food then the bacteria will have nothing to feed on.
Brushing your teeth with a dry – or damp – toothbrush will still help by removing the food. Toothpaste has certain ingredients that kill harmful bacteria, and most contain fluoride which can help protect your tooth enamel, but it is not required.

If you don’t feel comfortable brushing without toothpaste some good, natural alternatives are:

  • Sea Salt – a salt water rinse will help to kill the bacteria around your teeth;
  • Baking Soda – dissolve baking soda in water and dip in your tooth brush;
  • All Natural Soap – it may not taste as good at toothpaste, but it is non-toxic and will help get between the teeth just like tooth paste;
  • Coconut Oil – this has antifungal and antibacterial properties, you can add a little baking soda or other essential oils if the coconut taste is too strong.

Don’t Forget to Floss

If you are traveling without brushing, flossing can be your best friend. Food particles that are on the sides of your teeth can be removed fairly easily. It’s the food that is stuck between your teeth that you should really worry about. The tight space between your teeth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and decay. Make sure to floss every day to clean out those spaces.
If you do get a chance to go to the dentist before your trip, remember to ask for a little floss to go with the free toothbrush and toothpaste. Then keep the floss in your travel bag, even after you get home so you won’t forget it on your next trip!

When you get home try to get back to your regular routine as soon as possible. It’s not always possible to reverse tooth decay, so the sooner you start the better your chances. If something bad does happen to your teeth while you’re gone make sure to see your dentist. The sooner you get it fixed the sooner you can start planning for your next vacation!

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