Summer is a great time to go on vacation with your family. The kids are out of school, the weather is great, and there are tons of deals on Groupon! Of course, traveling can be a lot more complex than it seems. On top of hiring a dog sitter, booking flights, and organizing an itinerary, you also have to schedule in some time to relax! At Epic Dentistry for Kids, we can help make the process a little easier with some tooth-friendly travel tips from our Aurora pediatric dentist. Here’s how you can ensure you and your children’s oral hygiene is on point throughout the whole trip!
Packing for trips
Oral hygiene is often overlooked when it comes to packing. Most parents remember to bring sunscreen, extra socks, and even their child’s favorite toy, but they forget to bring something as simple as a toothbrush! We attribute this to the fact that most people pack before the day of travel, but it’s impossible to pack a toothbrush the day before if you need to brush your teeth the morning of. That’s why we recommend having an entirely separate oral hygiene kit for travel. Since it’s recommended to replace your toothbrush every 3 months anyway, you might as well get one just for travel! Here’s to include in your set:
- Waterproof pouch to keep items
- Toothbrush holder
- Mouthwash (optional)
If you are flying to your destination, it’s important to get a travel-sized toothpaste and mouthwash. In the US, all fluids need to be held in containers that hold 3.4 oz (100 ml) or less for carry-ons. Toothbrush holders should be able to keep any remaining water on the toothbrush from leaking onto other items but also have enough air holes to allow the toothbrush to dry. There’s nothing worse than brushing your teeth with a moldy, bacteria-infested toothbrush.
If you have a long flight ahead (6+ hours), you may need to brush your teeth on the flight! Nobody wants stinky breath in such close proximity to other people. Sleeping for long periods of time also allows bacteria wreak havoc on your teeth, so if you plan on catching up on rest during your flight, you’ll want to brush first. Instead of bringing a cup or trying to maneuver around and use your own hand in the tiny restroom, ask your flight attendant for a small paper or plastic cup to rinse your mouth. Flossing can be time-consuming, so bring floss picks to cut down on time in the restroom to be courteous to other passengers. Our Aurora pediatric dentist also recommends bringing some sugar-free mints for after meals!
Eating on vacation
When we’re on vacation, we tend to throw our typical schedules out the door. Late nights, long naps, breakfast buffets, and lazy afternoons are what characterize a good vacation in our opinion! As dental professionals, however, there are a few things that are non-negotiable. The kids have to brush and floss before bed every night, no matter how tired they are from the day’s activities. Sugar treats should still be consumed in moderation. Foods like shellfish, nuts, longan, and seeds should be peeled with the hands, not the teeth. Trust us, that shrimp is not worth a chipped tooth!
What’s even more important for your teeth than what you eat on vacation is what you drink on vacation! Especially during the hot summer months, it’s super important to stay hydrated wherever you are. Caffeinated, alcoholic, and sugary drinks are actually dehydrating, so limit your consumption of margaritas, sweet tea, sodas, mojitos, and the like when you’re out and about. Having a reusable, insulated water bottle is an excellent way to stay hydrated. You can keep your water cool and refill when needed. If you and your children like to be active on vacation, sports drinks or coconut water are great ways to stay hydrated and replenish lost electrolytes according to our pediatric dentist.
No matter what you and your family are doing, remember to exercise a little caution and safety. Physically demanding activities like snorkeling, horse riding, zip lining, etc, require safety training and equipment. Even if your kids don’t want to pay attention to these guidelines, make it a priority for them to learn and understand what they need to do to be safe. It’s easy to get a head or mouth injury without a proper mouthguard or helmet!
Some of our favorite “tooth-friendly” activities that are usually safe include visiting museums, going on hikes, or sightseeing. These can also be amazing ways to learn about the history and culture of the location you’re visiting.
Emergency pediatric dentist
Despite all your prep and planning, accidents can still happen. Wherever you go, we recommend getting together a list of emergency pediatric dentists and doctors that take your insurance in the area. That way, you won’t have to rush to find a healthcare provider or emergency room in a critical moment. If you need dental advice for a less urgent problem, feel free to give us a call at Epic Dentistry for Kids. Even our Aurora pediatric dentist is happy to help patients. Our business hours are 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM Monday through Friday. We’re here for you when you need us!