Whether it's a big OE around Asia, a working holiday in Canada or a few weeks in Fiji, Kiwis are big travellers. Hitting the road is fun and rewarding, but when you're living out of a bag your oral care routine might fall by the wayside.
Here's how to make sure you're taking proper care of your teeth while travelling.
Before you go
Maintaining good dental health while travelling starts before you go.
- Get a check up. Make sure there are no minor issues that could become worse while you're away.
- Ensure you're insured. Travel insurance is an important purchase, and it's a good idea to check that your policy covers emergency dental care.
- Stock up on supplies. Your oral health packing checklist should include your trusty toothbrush, a toothbrush case with adequate drainage and ventilation, toothpaste, including a tube small enough to be kept in your carry-on luggage (no more than 100 millilitres), floss and sugarless gum that you can use to help keep your teeth clean when you can't brush.
En route to your destination
Travelling from New Zealand to anywhere usually entails a long trip. To keep your teeth squeaky clean while you're on the move:
- Carry oral care essentials on you. Stash your toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste in your hand luggage so you can clean your teeth in the airport or bus station.
- Snack smart. You might go longer than normal between cleanings when travelling, so help your teeth out by avoiding sugary snacks or soft drinks.
While you're away
Treat yourself to holiday cocktails and dinners out, but don't forget to give your teeth some love afterward.
- Ventilate your toothbrush. Leaving your toothbrush in its carrying case can allow bacteria to build up. When you arrive at your destination, take it out and stand it upright in a cup so it can dry.
- Keep up your oral care. Don't let your twice-a-day brushing routine slip, no matter how much fun you're having. Maintaining the good dental health habits you have at home is the key to protecting your teeth while on holiday.
- Make tooth-friendly food choices. Travelling often goes hand in hand with overindulgence, but for the sake of your teeth try to limit your intake of lollies, desserts, chocolate and sweet drinks, including fruit juices. Try instead to eat fibre-rich vegetables and fruit.
- Chew gum after eating. It's a convenient way of stimulating saliva flow and scrubbing away food particles from your teeth.
Finally, when you get back home, you can make an appointment and come to see us if you have any concerns about your dental health.