School is out, summer is here, and a vacation could be on the way! Taking time off of work or school is a great opportunity to relax, catch up on your favorite TV shows, or head out of town on a trip. This break of routine is good for your body and mind, but it may not be the best for your smile. We’re not talking about your happiness, we’re talking about your teeth! Here’s what you should consider:
Saving money by only bringing carry-on luggage? Make sure that your toothpaste and mouth rinse are in bottles no larger than 3.4 fluid oz. (100ml) and contained in a quart-sized bag. The TSA will screen your luggage and make sure that any liquids or containers are no larger than that, and if they are, they’ll toss them.
Forgot to pack your toothbrush? Most airports and hotels will have a convenience store where you can purchase travel-sized toothpastes, rinses, floss, and toothbrushes so you don’t have to make an extra stop when you arrive at your destination.
Maintain Your Routine
Cleaning your teeth by brushing and flossing at least twice a day, along with an oral rinse should obviously be part of your daily routine already. Regardless of how late you sleep in, or how late you stay out, make sure you maintain your normal dental routine! Hotel, tent, camper, hostel, or home, your smile is important and should not be forgotten about. There are 700 different types of bacteria found in the human mouth (though the majority of us only harbor 34 – 72 varieties of them), and skipping a brushing session allows the harmful bacteria to feed on the sugars and starches in your mouth longer, and produce even more.
Rethink Your Drink
Also, be aware of what you’re drinking and how much. Sugar content may not be top-of-mind, but it’s the number one cause of cavities. A hot summer day may call for a glass of lemonade or a tough practice might require a refreshing sports drink, however these drinks contain high sugar content that actually exceeds the recommended daily intake! (Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons). Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) [AHA]. Try replacing these drinks with sugar-free/low-sugar alternatives such as unsweetened iced tea and fruit-infused waters!
Bonus Summer Tip: Keep an eye out for over-chlorinated pools! Pools with a pH that falls below 7 can damage your teeth! Check out this Colgate article to learn more.
Sources: American Heart Association, Colgate