With the introduction of a cold winter, many Australians pack up and go on holidays to warmer destinations – in fact, this month is one of the top three months of the year that see the most departures, with over one million travellers leaving Australia in July 2017.
With the excitement of a European or North American Summer spent on the shores of Mykonos, or hiking in the stunning national parks of North America, it’s common for travellers to deprioritise their health, especially their dental health.
With this in mind, Specialist Orthodontist in Melbourne, Dr Sarah Lawrence has compiled her top three tips for maintaining oral hygiene and looking after your smile when travelling for longer periods of time that won’t distract you from enjoying your holiday.
- Pack smart
When switching between time zones and spending a lot of time in the air, on the road or at sea, it’s very easy to fall out of routine when it comes to brushing and flossing and quickly develop that “fuzzy” feeling on your teeth. To help, pack a small pouch or purse that can house a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste and floss that you can easily switch between your suitcase and day bag. Also, don’t forget to stock up on those handy hotel freebies that often include a toothbrush and toothpaste!
- Be careful around sugar and acidity
Going on holiday often means straying from carefully considered diets and indulging in the amazing food and wine in your new destination, which often means we forget to carefully monitor our intake of sugary and acidic foods that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. This doesn’t mean you need to be strict about what you eat, but consider sipping sugary/acidic drinks through a straw to minimise contact with your teeth or try to rinse your mouth with water after eating. In fact, drinking lots of water regularly can help oral hygiene by washing away food particles!
- Plan for emergencies
No matter how careful you are, you can’t guarantee a dental issue or emergency won’t arise when travelling, so it’s extremely important to pre-plan with things like health and travel insurance to cover you. If you have travel plans in the future and you are planning to fix your smile, consider Invisalign® treatment with Invisalign aligners. Your doctor can provide you with sets of aligners in advance for you to have on-hand when travelling, as opposed to wires and brackets, which require regular adjusting and can sometimes break.
Jade Hameister, 17, is a student from Melbourne who is used to maintaining regular health and oral hygiene routines when travelling for long periods. She is the youngest person in history to complete the ‘Polar Hat-Trick’, which has seen her ski to the North Pole, South Pole and cross the world’s second largest polar ice cap, Greenland.
“When undertaking long expeditions, it’s easy for me to forget to maintain oral hygiene as I’m often so focused on other aspects of the journey that end up becoming the more immediate priority”, she says. “One of the key things that helps me manage it is by setting myself a routine that I can follow so my oral health becomes second nature.
“On my recent 37-day trek to the South Pole, I was also undergoing Invisalign treatment, which ended up being a really suitable option as braces would not have been safe due to the extreme cold. I was also able to continue each stage of treatment without the need to come into the Orthodontic office.”