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Do you have a home routine for keeping your teeth white? Do you habitually brush for 2-3 minutes twice a day, floss and rinse with mouth wash? It may be difficult to keep up this habit when you’re traveling abroad. Here are several tips for making sure your smile and teeth remain healthy as ever during vacation.

1. Pack healthy snacks

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. The same principles for maintaining your health apply abroad as they do at home. If you can manage to pack sliced apples, carrots or celery sticks for appetising snacks, do so. Bottled water mixed with fresh fruits (such as blueberries, strawberries, lemon, etc.) is strongly encouraged. They are incredibly healthier for you and your teeth than sugar-laden chips and drinks.

2. Dental Aid Kit

Do you have a first aid kit? Good! Do you have a dental kit? Clean, healthy teeth simply feel wonderful. You can help your teeth by packing a kit full of the following:

  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Mouth guard
  • Invisalign mouth pieces
  • Advil, Tylenol or other pain reliever (for toothaches)

If you’d prefer, ask your dentist what he/she recommends being a part of the dental health kit. Expect different results depending on whom you consult. For example, Pediatric dentists in San Diego may suggest different items than dentists in Los Angeles.

3. Use the Bathroom Wisely

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is make a pot of coffee. As the coffee brews, I systematically declutter and clean the counters—including a quick floor sleep—before the coffee finishes. This habit makes it easier to keep the kitchen clean as the day continues. You can build a cleaning habit for yourself, using the same principle. Whenever you make a pitstop somewhere—whether it’s for a layover, to fuel up, or spend overnight at a motel—make it a point to brush and floss your teeth. These frequent breaks will turn into a habit: much like my morning routine habit of cleaning while the coffee brews.

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4. Drink Tons of Water

When you’re traveling, no matter the destination, try to listen to locals who say to not drink the water. Since we never really know what’s in tap water, it’s a good idea to drink filtered (Brita) water or bottled water – even at home. Staying hydrated throughout the day prevents tooth decay.

5. Toothbrush

Believe it or not, germs and dirt love toothbrushes. They especially love toothbrushes that aren’t packed in a plastic bag and sealed tightly. (Bonus points if you store it in a travel holder with “breathing holes” before wrapping it up in a bag.) Never keep your toothbrush wet, and always be sure to dry it properly before storing it. Or simply buy a toothbrush (that’s the right thickness for your teeth – if you have sensitive teeth and gums, do not buy ‘hard’ toothbrushes; this is where buying ‘soft’ toothbrushes pays off) specifically for the vacation; toss it once you return home.

ConclusionIf possible, check to see if your dental insurance will be covered in the area you’re travelling to. Your dental health is of the utmost importance. Though it may not seem like it at first, having healthy teeth steers you clear of tremendous pain and expensive dentist bills. No matter where you’re travelling to in the world, always consult with your dentist prior to leaving. Ask for a dental exam to see if you have any oral problems.

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