It may not be the first thing you think of when you’re packing your bags for your annual summer holiday, but once you’ve read our top ten tips for keeping your mouth healthy on your well-deserved break, you’ll soon realise how easy it is to prevent any potential dental problems.
1. Pay your dentist a pre-holiday visit
If you’re due your regular examination, then it’s best to get this done and out of the way before you set off on your holidays. Any potential problems can then be identified and hopefully resolved before you go away, therefore reducing the risk of your holiday being spoilt by unpleasant toothache. Most check-ups don’t take too long, but could save you a lot of unnecessary pain in the long run.
2. Don’t forget to pack your dental first aid kit
You’ve no doubt already packed your after-sun and your insect bite cream, but don’t forget about your teeth. Most dental first aid kits can be purchased either from your dentist or online, and are small enough to fit in even the most compact suitcases.
3. Have you got your toothbrush?
It might sound basic, but there are a large number of people in the UK who forget to pack their toothbrush when going on holiday! In fact, according to the Travel Magazine, up to a fifth* of holiday makers forget to pack their toothbrush. Treat yourself to a brand new brush, and if possible, squeeze in a travel sized mouthwash and dental floss into your washbag as well. Sticking with your usual oral hygiene routine will help to prevent the build-up of decay.
4. Take a spare set of dentures
If you’re a denture wearer, it can be a good idea to pack your spare dentures. Depending on where you are travelling to, you may be at greater risk of developing sickness if you are travelling by boat or your destination is renowned for causing upset stomachs. Vomiting is well known for causing dentures to slip out, and the last thing you want is for your precious teeth to be sent overboard or flushed down the toilet.
5. Reduce your sugar intake
Whilst we don’t want to sound like killjoys, it’s well known that people tend to let their diets go out of the window when they are enjoying themselves on holiday. Rather than sticking to three meals a day, holiday makers are more like to graze and snack on sugary foods. This puts your teeth at a far greater risk as they are exposed to sugar more frequently throughout the day than they would be usually, so if you are going to snack, try to stick to the more savoury options.
6. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume
Many people find they drink more alcohol when they are on holiday than they would at home, and they may go for sweeter drinks such as cocktails or fizzy alcopops or sweet ciders. Try to choose alcoholic drinks which are lower in sugar and remember that alcohol is one of the main causes of oral cancer, so drink in moderation.
7. Ensure that you drink plenty of water
Whether you are going to be enjoying a sunny beach holiday, or perhaps an adventure holiday in cooler climes, it’s vital that you keep a healthy water level maintained at all times. On particularly hot or active days, you may need to increase your water consumption to 3 litres per day. Water will not damage the natural pH levels within your mouth, and is therefore a much safer option to drink that fizzy or sweet drinks. Don’t forget that tap water abroad isn’t always safe to drink, so you may prefer to stick with bottled water instead.
8. Use sunscreen
You may be wondering how using sunscreen will help you to protect your mouth, but don’t forget that prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to forms of oral cancer. By applying sunscreen to your lips, which are already at risk from the sun due to the naturally thin skin and lack of melanin, you will be helping to protect your mouth from harmful UV rays.
9. Be careful when carrying out sporting activities
Lots of dental injuries are caused by people diving into swimming pools or onto unseen rocks in sea water. You may be tempted to take up a leisurely sport whilst you’re away from home, such as tennis, which is one of the culprits of causing injuries to mouths and teeth. Whilst we encourage people to enjoy exercise, it’s worth just remembering to reduce any risks where possible.
10. Last but not least…
Make sure that you have sufficient travel insurance, just in case the worst should happen. If you’re travelling within Europe, be sure to have an up to date European Health Insurance Card with you, as this will provide you with an emergency support number should you need it. Don’t be afraid of visiting a dentist if you really need to whist you are away, at least let the dentist carry out any emergency work to keep you going until you get home to your usual practice.
If you are going on holiday this summer, we hope you have a great time, and of course, stay safe.
To book your pre-holiday dental examination, simply give our team a call on 01494 442922.