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How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy While Traveling

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Written by
Michael Bayba
3 Sources Cited

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy While Traveling

Many people are hoping that travel will once again become a safe, healthy option this year. Many of us have been stuck at home for what seems like ages. It’s about time for a vacation.

Plus, with the rise in remote work, it looks like many people will be able to travel while working. 

Whether you’re packing for a quick vacation or looking to travel long-term, don’t forget about your teeth.

Oral health is a vital part of your overall health. Neglecting it can lead to severe consequences, including:

So you definitely don’t want to stop taking care of your teeth just because you’re hitting the road. The good news is that it’s actually pretty easy to keep up with your oral health while traveling.

Here are our top 7 tips to keep your teeth healthy while traveling.

7 Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy While Traveling

1. Schedule a check-up before you leave

The first step is to schedule a cleaning and check-up with your local dentist. This is especially important if you’re planning on traveling extensively.

But even if you’re only leaving for a week or two, it’s a good idea to schedule your cleaning a week or two before you leave. That way, you have some time to schedule any necessary follow-up appointments.

It’s much more convenient to take care of any unforeseen dental problems before you pack your bags. Plus, your dentist can recommend or supply you with everything you need for your trip.

2. Buy everything you need (plus a backup) before you leave

When you’re making your packing list, be sure to include:

  • A toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Any teeth whitening products you use

You can also pack two of everything, just in case you leave one behind on accident.

These products are generally available in other countries. Still, if you have a favorite brand, special formulas, an electric toothbrush, or a teeth whitening regimen, you might not be able to find them.

If you’re checking your bag, you can bring any size of liquid you want. If you’re traveling with a carry-on only, you can only bring a travel-sized mouthwash (3.4 ounces/100 ml). 

Veteran tip: Always travel with a full-sized tube of toothpaste in your toiletries bag, even if you only have a carry-on. This technically goes against TSA regulations, but it rarely gets confiscated. Travel-sized toothpastes are often a waste of money.

3. Always travel with a toothbrush case

Not keeping your toothbrush clean can lead to harmful bacteria getting into your mouth. A toothbrush case is a simple and effective way to keep it clean and sanitized.

Something like this one on amazon will do the trick. 

If you can, give your toothbrush proper time to dry before putting it back in the case. If you have to pack it wet, unpack it and clean it as soon as you get the chance at your next destination.

4. Bring sugar-free gum

Chewing sugar-free gum can help neutralize acids and minimize bacteria. It also increases saliva production and helps to wash away food particles after a meal.

If you can’t brush your teeth, sugar-free gum can be a good substitute to hold you over until you can.

5. Don’t forget to floss

Whether you’re on the road or at home, always floss your teeth at least once a day. Not flossing can lead to:

  • Plaque
  • Gum disease
  • Bad breath
  • Cavities

It might even increase your chances of heart disease. 

Multiple studies have linked gum disease to a higher risk of heart disease. 1, 2 More research is needed to understand this link. 

However, the connection is so strong that both the American Dental Association and the American Heart Association have acknowledged the connection between gum disease and heart disease.

Moral of the story: don’t forget to floss.

6. You can whiten on the go

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures. And thanks to new technology, you can whiten your teeth at home and get results similar or equal to in-office treatment from your dentist.

These at-home whitening kits are safe and convenient. You can easily fit them in your toiletry bag and whiten your teeth wherever you go.

7. Don’t be afraid of dentists in (most) other countries

In many popular tourist destinations, dentists have modern capabilities. And since most medical texts are in English, it’s common for them to speak it. 

For cleaning procedures and minor issues like cavities or a chipped tooth, they should be able to help you.

According to one study

“Cross-border dental care will likely benefit some patients…However, [it] is likely to have harmful consequences for some individuals…Some dental tourists will receive excellent care when they travel abroad for treatment. Other patients risk receiving substandard care. Around the world, the education of dentists, training of dental assistants, regulation of dental clinics, accreditation and licensing of dentists, and quality of dental services is highly variable.” 3

There are a lot of expat forums online and on Facebook that can help you navigate medical scenarios. Be sure to check the dentist’s qualifications and, if possible, customer reviews.

For major procedures such as extractions, root canals, or any surgeries, you might want to fly home to get these done. However, in certain modern cities, you may be able to find help.

Last updated on April 20, 2022
3 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 20, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Chang, Yoonkyung, et al. “Improved Oral Hygiene Care Is Associated with Decreased Risk of Occurrence for Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study.” SAGE Journals, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 1 Dec. 2019.
  2. Dhadse, Prasad, et al. “The Link between Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease: How Far We Have Come in Last Two Decades?” Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Medknow Publications, July 2010. 
  3. Turner, L. “Cross-Border Dental Care: 'Dental Tourism' and Patient Mobility.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 24 May 2008. 
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