During the summer here, many of us will be treating ourselves to a well-deserved break. But there’s nothing worse than having a relaxing getaway interrupted by a sudden bout of illness. It is important that you know the potential risks to your dental health during this time so that something as easily preventative as a toothache doesn’t ruin your vacations. So, here are a few tips to get us through the long summer days.
The dental check-up
First things first, before you set off on your summer holiday, make sure you take a flying trip to your dentist. Although a visit to the dentist may not be at the forefront of your mind when preparing to go on vacation, it should be a part of everyone’s pre-vacation preparations, either as a precaution or to eliminate potential long-term damage to your dental health. But if you really can’t do it before – do it immediately after. A good cleaning might be a good thing after giving your teeth a hard time.
Don’t forget your toothbrush
This should go without saying but during the packing process, which can get especially manic, it’s surprising what can get left behind – even something as valuable in your daily routine as your toothbrush! It’s also a good idea to take a spare toothbrush, just in case you have a mishap with your regular one. Before a vacation is also the perfect time to buy a new toothbrush and pop it in your travel bag.
Water is the drink of choice
The importance of water during a hot summer vacation is vital for our overall health but it also provides a vital role for our oral health too. It’s best to avoid regularly consumption of drinks with high sugar and acidic content such as sports drinks or fruit juices which increase the chance of dental decay and enamel erosion. A word of caution on drinking tap water abroad though, to reduce the risk of picking up a tummy bug, bottled water is probably the better option.
Limit your sugary foods
Our summer vacations are usually the time where we eat more excessively than usually, which more often than not, makes for a high-in-sugar diet. During the summer we are more likely to “graze” but we must remember to keep this to a minimum. It is better for our teeth and general health to stick to three meals a-day instead of having seven to ten of these “snack-attacks”, which can cause dental decay and erosion, the loss of tooth enamel, which if worn away the dentine underneath is exposed and your teeth can look discoloured and become sensitive.
Protect your lips
While basking in the sun, many of us will sensibly apply suntan lotion to protect ourselves against the sun’s rays, in a bid to help prevent such diseases as skin cancer but what many people fail to realise is the importance of protecting our lips. With the skin on our lips being thin and particularly vulnerable due to the lack of melanin, shielding our lips from the sun on vacation is essential as prolonged exposure could lead to forms of oral cancer.
Pack your dental first aid kit
This is a crucial piece of equipment to take on vacation. Often small and inexpensive, there are many dental first aid kits in the market and the majority of them contain everything you would need in a dental emergency. No matter how careful we are, accidents do happen so make sure you are prepared for any eventuality.
Limit your alcohol consumption
It’s easy to get carried away, but there a certain vacation luxuries that you should be particularly careful of – and one of these is alcohol. Regular consumption of sweet cocktails and fizzy alcoholic drinks can result in tooth decay…not exactly the vacation souvenir you were hoping for. And with alcohol being a leading cause of oral cancer it’s important to drink responsibly.
Take your spare dentures and other appliances
This may come as a surprise but many sets of dentures are lost by their owners on vacation so taking a spare pair is always a good idea. Most dentures on vacation are lost through being sick, following a bout of seasickness or food poisoning for example, with the owner not realising that their dentures have slipped out, more often than not either overboard, or down the toilet.
Beware of sporting injuries
Oral sporting injuries are a common occurrence, and especially prevalent during the summer vacation period. Lost or cracked teeth when diving into swimming pools is a common one, as is the impact of a ball or bat to the mouth. Accidents happen and unfortunately there’s not much you can to do prevent them but simply being aware of the potential dangers will perhaps make you think twice when taking part in activities.
Know the support available
Lastly. You may be far away from your regular dentist but there are still professional support services available to you in an emergency. For vacation travels, carry your dental insurance card and dentist emergency contact numbers as they may be able to refer you to a dentist in your local area to help until you return home.
Dr. Pradeep Adatrow is the only practicing Board Certified Periodontist and Prosthodontist in the Southern United States. In addition to devotedly serving the Advanced Dental and TMJ Center, he also serves as the Director of Surgical Prosthodontics at the University of Tennessee.
#southavendentist #desotodentist #Memphisdentist #implantdentist #TMJ #gumdisease #tmjdentist