Schools out! For many of us, summer vacation brings a change of routine. Kids might be sleeping in longer, staying up later, and many of us try to escape the summer heat with quick trips to less scorching climates and maybe even a longer vacation. Meal times tend to become less routine, snacking becomes more prevalent, and what if you have a tooth emergency while on the road? Here’s some tips for summer tooth care.
1) Rinse your mouth with water after eating. You may not have easy access to your toothbrush if you’re on the road traveling early in the morning or late at night. Studies have shown that brushing immediately after eating can harm your tooth enamel. Its better to wait at least 30 minutes after eating for saliva chemistry to normalize. A good tip is to at least rinse your mouth out, especially after eating sugary foods or foods that tend to stain such as blueberries. Don’t forget to brush, though, at least twice daily.
2) Try to limit constant snacking, especially on sugary drinks and snacks. Its not good for your waistline, health, or your teeth. Keep a bottle with you that you can keep filled with water, and snacks handy such as nuts, that are less sugary, won’t spoil, but are still satisfying.
3) Keep sugar free mint gum handy. This is a staple in our family travel bag. The mint helps soothe queasy tummies produced by motion sickness, and chewing gum can also activate salivary glands to help rinse away food particles. Its also a better option when the munchies hit on those long car drives, than candy or junk food. Its not a substitute for brushing, so make sure not to forget your toothbrush!
4) Make sure to keep up your good brushing. If you use an ultrasonic toothbrush, the charge can usually hold for a few days without needing to bring along your charger. If you opt to pack a traditional toothbrush, remember that you will have to pay more attention to your brushing technique and it may take a little more time than what you are used to with your ultrasonic. Toss some floss into your travel bag, as well.
5) Care for temporary crowns. In most cases, Dr. Ito will try to work around your travel schedule so that you don’t have to travel with a temporary crown. While they perform very well, they are only meant to be in place temporarily. Should a temporary become dislodged while you are out of town, you can purchase temporary cement at most drug stores. Follow the directions on the package, and you should be able to replace it yourself. Avoid chewing or biting hard, crunchy foods, especially in the area of your crown. Check in with us as soon as you get back if you have any concerns, and be sure to come in as scheduled to have your permanent crown cemented in place.
6) Call if you have any dental emergencies while traveling. We’ll be able to give you advise for how to handle your dental emergency until you can get back in town.