It’s no secret, Australians love to travel. There’s something refreshing about taking a break from your usual routine, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of some exotic destination.
Holidays are also the perfect time to indulge in all sorts of delicious foods and beverages. However, this change in routine can leave you at greater risk of dental decay. We have compiled some helpful tips to ensure healthy teeth during the happiest times of the year.
Drink Water, Chew Gum.
If you’re frequently snacking during long trips, we recommend chewing sugar free gum at strategic times, such as after eating or before taking a nap. Chewing gum helps to produce more saliva in the mouth and clears food particles that become stuck in the grooves of the molars.
For many Australians, the holiday period means long hours in a car or plane, travelling to some far-off destination. Typically, we resort to frequent snacking on junk food to pass the time. Taking a nap/dozing off is also another excellent way to pass those boring hours. Unfortunately, the combination of frequent snacking with sleep creates an environment that’s conducive for tooth decay.
The presence of food, especially junk food and sugary liquids enables the bacteria in the mouth to produce harmful acid. Saliva provides protection by neutralising the acid and re-mineralising your teeth. This process is like a tug of war; and if the acid prevails over your natural defences, tooth decay can happen.
Frequent snacking simply means frequent acid attacks. And certain foods like chips, nuts, and lollies can get stuck in the grooves of the molars or leave behind sticky, sugary residue. This allows the bacteria to produce acid over a period that’s longer than usual, eventually overcoming your saliva’s natural protection.
The situation is made worse if your saliva flow is reduced. When you sleep, you generally produce less saliva, resulting in a dry mouth.
In addition, we recommend drinking water regularly. Not only is it good for your health, the consumption of water helps to reduce acidity and to wash away food particles and sugary residue.
Bring a Toothbrush Travel Kit
Enjoying your holiday doesn’t mean you should neglect your dental care. Aim to brush and floss your teeth twice a day, as per usual. The quality of the dental products you use is important for effective cleaning. There are many travel sized toothpaste and dental floss packages. Toothbrushes are inherently compact and shouldn’t be much of a burden.
Airplane and hotel products are mediocre at best. Toothbrushes may have hard bristles and toothpaste might not have sufficient fluoride content. But if that’s all you have, it’s better than nothing. Know the limitations and work with them. If the bristles are hard, don’t brush too forcefully. Using correct technique will help even if your equipment isn’t very good. Plaque should come off easily, there isn’t a need to brush forcefully. But if you let it harden into calculus, overbrushing won’t make a difference, you’ll need to visit your dentist for a scale and clean.