How to get ready for good oral health while travelling

Flight booked? Check. Hotel booked? Check. Excited for a well-deserved vacation? Check! Action plan to maintain oral health? Umm... You deserve this break. But travelling is not an excuse to let go of your healthy habits, including taking care of your oral health.

Whether you're packing a light bag for a weekend getaway or you're heading overseas for your long-awaited month-long trek across Asia, you should take a few steps to prepare for your travels.

Before you go, you may want to consider doing some of these things to ensure your mouth stays healthy while travelling:

  • Visit your dentist for a check-up. Tell your dentist that you will be travelling. If you are almost due for your check-up, it's better to go earlier so that if there are any problems, they can be resolved before you travel. (You probably don't want that loose filling to get worse!) If you're going to be away for an extended period of time, it's all the more important to have a full dental check-up before you leave.
  • Stock up on your oral hygiene supplies so that you won't run out while you're away (see below for an oral health packing checklist). You will probably be able to find the basics (toothbrush, toothpaste) wherever you're going, but you may want to bring the items you routinely use at home, especially if it took you a while to find your favourite flavour of toothpaste!
  • Make a list of credible and safe dentists or dental clinics in the place you plan to visit. If you run into a dental emergency, you want to go to a place that's reputable. Your dentist, insurance plan, the Canadian embassy, and organizations such as the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT) can help you with this.
  • Check your insurance to see if it covers dental emergencies. If you are buying travel medical insurance, find out exactly what type of coverage is in the policy.

Depending on where you go, your oral health supplies may be limited or you may not have access to the supplies you're familiar with. Here's an essential oral health packing checklist:

  • A good-sized travel container or bag that can fit all of your oral health supplies.
  • A toothbrush.
  • Toothbrush holder or carrying case. Make sure it contains holes for ventilation and water drainage.
  • Toothpaste to help protect against cavities and promote healthy gums.
  • Dental floss.
  • Mouth rinse with antibacterial properties or fluoride to help prevent gum disease.
  • Sugarless gum, for chewing after meals to increase saliva flow to help remove food particles and sugar from your mouth.
  • If you wear a retainer, headgear, mouth guard, or dentures, don't forget to pack it and the carrying case!
  • Pain killers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, just in case you get a toothache.

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