Have Teeth, Will Travel: Must-Pack Products for Summer Vacation

summer-travel-teeth-polk-cityAs the school year winds down and the temperature climbs, we’re already mapping out our summer vacation travel plans. Whether your plans include trips abroad to exotic locations or just a brief change of scenery, you’ll have a more enjoyable experience if you remember these important oral health guidelines. Dr. Ryan Hussong and the Cornerstone Dental team share their list of must-pack oral hygiene items and travel tips. Leaving the country? Don’t go without calling us to schedule a dental checkup in Polk City, IA.

Oral Hygiene Essentials for Your Packing List

Dr. Hussong recommends that you purchase a new toothbrush to be used during your trip and discarded afterward. If you end up buying one at the airport or hotel gift shop, you’ll pay nearly twice the regular price. This applies to toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash, too. Travel sizes work well and save valuable luggage space. Don’t forget to store these items in a clear zippered bag, sparing yourself the grief of a toothpaste-soiled suitcase and the wrath of the TSA. If you decide to pack your electric toothbrush for a weeklong trip or less, you can most likely get away without packing the charger. For longer jaunts, you’ll need the charger and possibly a power adapter depending on your destination.

If you wear dentures or braces, you’ll need to stock up on items that may not be readily available elsewhere. These can include orthodontic wax or tape, denture adhesives and cleansers, and storage containers for removable dentures or retainers. These items are difficult to find in many countries, especially those that are well off the beaten path.

Convenient Carry-on Oral Care Products

Will you travel to your destination by air? Many adults and children experience popping and pain in their ears during takeoff and landing. Chewing, sucking, and drinking movements relieve discomfort and pressure in the inner ear, so Dr. Hussong recommends packing sugar-free chewing gum in your carry-on. Choose gum with Xylitol, a sweetener that has been proven to fight cavities. If you are traveling with small children, bring a sippy cup. Water is preferable to fruit juice, which soaks teeth in sugar and contributes to tooth decay.

Many of our jet-setting patients swear by single-use toothbrushes and disposable flossers, especially on long flights. We like Colgate Wisps, small plastic brushes with a built-in dollop of minty paste, which are perfect for eliminating traces of snacks or your in-flight meal. Bad breath on an airplane? Trust us, your seatmate will thank you!

In your carry-on or suitcase, pack the over-the-counter pain reliever if your choice—tablets or capsules only—such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and Tylenol. As with toothbrushes and other hygiene products, you’ll pay much more for them if you purchase them from a kiosk or gift shop. You never know when you’ll need relief from toothaches, orthodontic appliances, or oral health mishaps. Leave the medication in its original bottle.

Now, about that pre-flight dental checkup. To learn more about oral health and hygiene away from home, or to schedule a dental exam with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact our Polk City, IA general dentist office at (515) 984-6001. We welcome patients living in Alleman, Ankeny, Grimes, Urbandale, West Des Moines, and the neighboring communities.