5 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy While Traveling or Camping

Written by Kasia Marelich, DMD, FAGD May 29 • 3 minute read

Summertime tends to be the time of travel in my family. Whether it’s a week-long gateway or a quick weekend camping trip, going places takes us away from our usual routines, including dental care habits. As a dentist, a wife and a mother, I pay special attention to making sure my family maintains their oral health while we are on the go. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy while you enjoy your summer adventures.

Pack a dedicated dental kit bag - use a quart size zip lock bag or toiletry bag to create your family’s dental kit. Keep it with other travel items so you never forget to pack it. Pro tip: when flying, I keep my bag in my carry-on. This way if the airline loses my luggage (knock on wood), I can still brush my teeth. Here is what I keep in my dental kit: 

  • Manual toothbrushes - these could be travel size or regular size as long as they fit in your selected bag or pouch. While I use my electric toothbrush at home, I don’t like to worry about battery life and more power cables while packing (it’s enough that I have to remember to bring my cell phone charger etc). Remember that toothbrushes harbor bacteria, so if it’s been a while since our last trip, I replace them with new ones.

  • Toothbrush covers - these will cover your toothbrushes while stored in the bag to protect them from damage and from touching other toothbrushes. If you’re staying in a hotel, let your toothbrush air dry during the day and after you return home.

  • Toothpaste - if all members of your family use the same toothpaste, you could pack a standard size tube, but if everyone likes a different toothpaste, get travel sized ones so that everyone has their favorite. 

  • Floss or flossers. I prefer string floss, however, if I am camping and good hand hygiene is more challenging than normal, flossers with handles are my go to. I usually will keep both in my bag, so I am ready whether I am staying in a hotel or a tent. 

Stick to Your Routine - consistency is hard when your schedule is suddenly different and irregular. Set a reminder on your phone or smartwatch to brush your teeth in the morning and at nighttime. If you are camping, use a bottle of water to rinse your toothbrush, especially if potable water is not available. 

Be Mindful of Your Diet - We all like to indulge a little while on vacation, try new foods, have special treats. While it’s part of the fun, try to limit sugary snacks and beverages. For instance, ask for water on your flight instead of soda and enjoy a special beverage during dinner instead. If possible, opt for tooth-friendly snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, nuts and seeds. Chewing gum that is sugar-free, better yet, contains Xylitol, will also help you keep your mouth healthy while on the go. And gum comes handy when your ears pop on the plane, especially during descent.

Rinse with Water - in addition to keeping you hydrated, rinsing your mouth with water can help remove food particles and help return your mouth pH to neutral after a meal. Carry a refillable water bottle, just remember to empty it before going through the TSA and only fill it with water that is safe for drinking.

Avoid Risky Habits - While traveling you might be tempted to use your teeth as tools to open packages, bottles etc, since you may not have all of your usual tools handy. Do not use your teeth for anything other than food! This can lead to chipped or broken teeth and make your vacation a lot more expensive than planned. This also applies to chewing on ice in your water or drink.

Taking care of your oral health while traveling doesn’t have to be a challenge and I hope these 5 tips above will make it a lot easier. Remember, a healthy mouth contributes to overall health and well-being, and the healthier you are, the more enjoyable your travels!



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We are dedicated to excellence in family and cosmetic dentistry, specifically prevention, crown & bridge, veneers, implants and teeth whitening. Located in Santa Rosa, California, the office serves patients throughout Sonoma County including neighboring cities such as Healdsburg, Windsor, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park and Petaluma.

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