Experiencing a dental emergency when you’re not traveling is already panic-inducing enough, but when you’re 35,000 feet in the air or in a city where no one speaks English, it’s a different story. No one wants to experience a head-splitting toothache or a cracked tooth in the middle of a trip, so even if you have no history of major dental problems, it’s always a good idea to proactively avoid dental emergencies–especially while traveling.
When you won’t have access to a trusted dentist or dental clinic such as JC Dental & Implant Studio, here are the best ways to avoid dental emergencies while on the go.
1. Don’t use your teeth as a tool
While traveling, you likely won’t have a can opener or a pair of scissors handy. But if your next instinct is to use your teeth to open beer bottles or a pack of chips, think twice. Using your teeth for anything other than chewing or tearing actual food can lead to chipping and cracking, and when you’re in the middle of vacation, it’s more difficult to deal with teeth problems that need immediate dental attention. Do yourself a favor and bring a multi-tool with you while on the go.
2. Avoid eating sticky, chewy, or extremely hard foods
Eating is one of the best parts of being on vacation. However, it’s always a good idea to watch what you eat–not only for your waistline but for your teeth as well, especially if you have sensitive teeth and gums. As much as possible, avoid foods that are too sticky, chewy, or hard. These foods can easily stick to your teeth, loosen fillings, or even cause chipping or cracking. If the foods are loaded with sugar, you are also making your teeth more prone to cavities.
3. Protect your teeth while engaging in risky activities
If you’re planning on doing any kind of extreme sport while on vacation, bring a mouthguard with you. Any activity that risks impact to your face can potentially do damage to your teeth, even as much as knocking out a permanent tooth. Hence, protecting your teeth should be an utmost priority–if you can’t avoid risky sports or activities, wear a mouthguard to minimize the risk of a dental emergency.
4. Take good care of your teeth
The best way to avoid a dental emergency whether you’re traveling or not is to maintain good oral hygiene. But when you’re on vacation, dental hygiene becomes more important because you’re likely to eat more, drink sugary beverages, and neglect your normal oral hygiene routine. So even if it’s a hassle to brush your teeth in the airport bathroom or the restaurant you’re stopping by in, make time to brush, floss, and use mouthwash at least twice a day.
Similarly, avoid using hotel toothbrushes as their bristles are usually harder. Pass on the free toothpaste, too, as hotel toothpaste tends to be cheaper and less effective than your regular toothpaste.
5. Avoid flying after surgery
Any dental surgery requires a certain amount of recovery time, be it a few days or a few weeks. Ask your dental surgeon when it’s safe to fly after your surgery. The dry air and cabin pressure on a flight can interfere with the blood clot that has formed over the surgery site, possibly causing bleeding and extreme pain on top of being a huge nuisance on your trip.
If you have to undergo surgery before traveling, plan for ample recovery time in between the date of your surgery and your departure, especially if you’re flying. Even then, pack a dental first-aid kit just in case.
6. Be mindful of your bad habits under stress
There are a lot of unavoidable stresses that come with traveling, whether it’s the mad dash to the airport, the mix-up at the hotel reception, or the traffic jam on the highway. If you tend to bite your nails or grind your teeth while stressed, you may be putting yourself at risk of an unexpected dental emergency.
The best way to avoid these habits is to distract yourself whenever you get the urge to chew on your nails or gnash your teeth together. Instead, try chewing sugar-free gum, watching a video on your phone, watching people at the airport, or practically anything else that can help you both manage the stress and stop yourself from engaging in bad dental habits.
Few things can ruin a vacation faster than a dental emergency. This is especially true when you’re in a place with no access to emergency dental care and if your insurance doesn’t provide overseas coverage. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can save yourself from a dental emergency, starting with the ones mentioned above.