It’s summer: Take a vacation – but not from good oral care

July is the time of year when families head to vacation destinations for a change of scenery. Whether you’re relaxing on a beach and swimming in the Gulf or whitewater rafting and camping in the Rockies, your daily routine is likely to be disrupted. That’s all part of the fun of vacationing – having flexibility with your sleep schedule, eating out at restaurants and going on sightseeing adventures. However, in the midst of all the fun, it is important to maintain a normal dental care routine.

Most dentists – and WebMD’s suggestions for best oral care practices – say people should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss once each day. It’s important to brush your teeth first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night. It might be difficult to maintain this habit if your night is spent dancing in a beach cabana resort while sipping on tasty Mai Tais. But even neglecting good oral care practices for a few days can damage your chops – or lead to bad breath. So, if you find it hard to maintain a proper dental care routine while on vacation, here are some tips:

  • Bring plenty of travel-sized oral care products – This includes toothpaste, floss and mouthwash. Make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride and look for brands approved by the American Dental Association. Fluoride in toothpaste is important all the time, but it is especially important when you are traveling as fluoride content in water varies from region to region.
  • Set reminders – One way to remind yourself to brush your teeth at night is to set a reminder on your phone. If you know you’re going to be out late, set an alarm to go off about the time you plan on heading back to your to your hotel.
  • Eat wisely – While on vacation, you will likely eat out more than you usually do. However, remember that sugary foods help plaque grow. If you find you’ll be snacking often, try to eat fiber-rich fruits and veggies, which stimulate saliva – your mouth’s natural defense against plaque.
  • Rinse your mouth out – Keep some travel-sized mouth wash in your beach bag or travel pack and rinse after eating. This will help remove food particles when you are on the go.
  • Pack sugarless gum – After eating a big meal or enjoying a sugary beverage, pop in a piece of sugarless gum. Sugarless gum can be a quick fix when you can’t brush your teeth or floss right away, as it triggers salivary flow, helps clear food stuck in teeth and removes plaque.
  • Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated is crucial to your overall health and dental health. You don’t want your mouth to become too dry, which can happen if you become dehydrated. A dry mouth, which means lack of saliva, promotes tooth decay.

The above tips are useful all the time, but they will especially come in handy when on vacation. Have safe and happy travels this summer, and come back with big, healthy smiles!

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