When you’re on a road trip, brushing your teeth is probably the last thing you’re thinking about. All the junk food and sugary drinks you consume can compromise your oral health. And you don’t want that while you’re enjoying your time on the road. Hence, here are the best ways to take care of your teeth and gums during a long road trip:
1. Pack your oral hygiene kit properly
If you have dental implants, braces, or anything that needs special oral care, don’t forget to pack the items you need, such as a low-abrasive toothpaste or implant-specific dental floss. On the other hand, if you don’t need any of these special dental care items, simply bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss.
However, make sure to disinfect and dry your toothbrush before packing it. The moisture remaining in your toothbrush can lead to bacterial growth, especially if you store it in a bag in the trunk. Moreover, pack your oral hygiene kit in a clean and dry container, separate from your other toiletries.
2. Watch what you eat and drink
It’s okay to treat yourself with road trip snacks and other food that you don’t get to eat every day, but be mindful of what you put in your mouth. If you’ve overeaten sugary food or drank sugary drinks, brush your teeth more frequently. You don’t want the bacteria to overgrow in your teeth, much less cause a toothache in the middle of your road trip.
3. Drink plenty of water
Coffee, energy drinks, alcohol, and soda are common beverage choices during a road trip, and it’s okay to indulge yourself since you are on vacation. However, these beverages can damage your tooth enamel and encourage bacterial growth in your mouth. Luckily, you can combat this by drinking plenty of water in between—or better yet—by refraining from drinking too much of these beverages. You might have to make more bathroom stops, but at least you’re not damaging your oral health.
4. Air dry your toothbrush
Avoid putting your toothbrush in its travel case immediately after using it–the moisture can cause bacteria to proliferate. Let it air dry first before putting it back in the case. If the pit stop is going to be quick, make sure there is enough time to let your toothbrush dry out before you have to get on the road again.
5. Be wary of the water
Tap water in other places can be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria or pathogens. So if you’re staying at a hotel, ask if their water is filtered. If they don’t filter the water or if you’re doubtful about the water quality, use bottled water to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth. Remember that the bacteria in contaminated water can stay on your toothbrush for a long time until you disinfect it.
Road trips are full of food, drinks, and lots of fun with your friends. But if you leave out oral hygiene in the equation, you can end up with bad breath, a toothache, or an exacerbated mouth condition that was already present. Therefore, take note of these oral hygiene habits and abide by them during your road trip.