Everyone loves a holiday. No matter what your idea of a holiday is, the break away from your every day routine, time spent with family and friends or – if this is more your style – the time spent alone, it’s all a much needed break from the hectic realities of every day life. What should you never take a break from however? A good oral health care routine!
During a holiday there is no “Regular.” You might rise extra early, you may sleep til noon and chances are you’re staying up much later than you normally do in order to make sure you have time to take in all the sights, sounds, entertainment and treats that come along with a holiday. Perhaps your kids are telling you “brushing is boring,” or “it takes too long” or maybe you, the “responsible” adult simply fell asleep, without brushing, after a night of indulgence. Whatever the reason, there’s no excuse for leaving your toothbrush behind.
- Brushing on a different schedule is better than no schedule. Chances are, wherever your vacation takes you, the day begins by getting up, dressed and out the door for breakfast. You might not be coming back to your hotel room for the entire day so brushing after brekkie is awkward. In that case, brush before! For many, brushing as soon as we wake up is a part of our regular routine anyway. It helps “clear away the cobwebs” from sleeping and if you aren’t returning to your room after breakfast, a morning brush is better than no brush at all.
- Water, water, water. Vacation often involves lots of treats, food and beverages that would never be a part of our regular routine and that’s fine. But to help combat the overall effects of all these “extras” (and any possibly harmful impact on our teeth) you need to drink plenty of water. Water rinses the teeth, mouth and gums. It helps prevent the build up of sugars and acids and flushes away food residue. If you are in a country with different water treatment options, water plays an important role when it comes to brushing your teeth as well. If the water is not consumable, that often means it’s not suitable for brushing teeth either so bottled water also becomes an important part of your vacation dental care regime. Make sure you’ve always got a couple of bottles handy, just for use exclusively for teeth brushing.
- Travel sizes solve any packing problems. With so many airline restrictions and having to pay extra for bags, many travel as lightly as possible these days. That’s no excuse for leaving the toothbrush at home however. There are travel size options available for everything to do with oral care. Mouthwash, toothpaste and even folding toothbrushes are all easily accessible at your local pharmacy or big box store and dental floss? Well, that’s always been pretty small and portable! Even backpacking through remote areas of the world is not an excuse for leaving the toothbrush behind when you can carry travel size and water anywhere you go.
- Vacations are often one, long, gastronomic buffet. Part of enjoying local culture is enjoying local food. Be aware how different foods might interact not just with your belly but with your mouth too. Some fruits are considerably more sugary or acidic than what you might be familiar with here at home and if you’re not careful you could come home with more than a few extra vacation pounds, you might have the start of a vacation cavity too.
- Dental care emergencies. Many of us take the time to ensure that we are covered by a travel plan in the event of a health care emergency but have you ever asked about dental coverage in that plan? Perhaps you are trying a new activity like paddle boarding or simply playing a friendly game of beach volleyball. The risks are slim yes but accidents do happen and if you take a volleyball to the face or fall off that paddle board hard, you might chip a tooth or knock one out altogether. No one wants to think about accidents but they do happen so make sure you have coverage for ANY type of accident.
- Medications. Along the same theme, always be sure to take your regular medications with you on vacation and your favorite brand of painkiller in case you experience even a simple toothache. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable unnecessarily.
- Bribery. We are not above suggesting bribery when it comes to encouraging kids to stick with regular routines. You’re on vacation after all so there really is no “regular.” If that means you have to promise an extra 30 minutes of beach time or just “one more ride” on the flying Dumbo at Disney, in order to be sure your child brushes their teeth fully and properly – we say “That’s ok, you’re on holiday!” Sometimes, bribery isn’t a bad thing.
The Brampton Brinkley Dental team wishes you and your family a safe, happy and enjoyable family vacation if and whenever that time comes. When you return, it might be time to schedule an appointment with our office and we look forward to seeing you. You can even bring your vacation slides! (Just kidding, does anyone take slides anymore? Have some of you younger readers even heard of slides?) Enjoy your time away and as always, we take this time at the end of every blog to remind one and all ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”