How to look after your smile on holiday

If you’re looking forward to going on holiday this summer, have you given any thought to how you’ll look after your oral health while you’re away? A dental problem could spoil your hard-earned break. But while such problems can happen any time, there are a few things you can do to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible when you’re away from home.

Here are some tips that may help you look after your smile this summer:

  • Before you go, book an appointment to see your dentist to reduce the risk of any problems happening while you’re away, especially if you haven’t had a check-up lately.
  • Ask your local Careway pharmacist to recommend everything you’ll need to take care of your teeth and gums on your holiday. Consider buying travel-size products to save room, and pack them in your hold baggage rather than your hand luggage.
  • If you have any crowns or dentures, your pharmacist can also recommend an emergency repair kit you can take away – just in case.
  • Take a supply of sugar-free gum – preferably one that contains xylitol – with you, and chew after and in between mealtimes to keep your mouth healthy.
  • When booking your holiday travel insurance, make sure it covers dental costs, as treatment abroad can be expensive.
  • If you’re spending time in an area where it’s not safe to drink tap water, remember to use bottled water to clean your teeth too.
  • Also bear in mind that when you’re on holiday you’re more likely than normal to eat sugary and acidic foods and drinks. So don’t be tempted to skip brushing your teeth twice a day.

If you do have a dental emergency while you’re away, don’t ignore it. Ask your holiday rep or your hotel receptionist to recommend a local dentist or dental clinic.

Meanwhile, here’s how to get the most from your oral hygiene routine wherever you are and whatever the time of year:

  • Brush for at least two minutes twice a day, covering the outer, inner and biting surfaces. The Oral Health Foundation recommends brushing last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Examine your toothbrush – if it’s three months or older, or if the bristles look worn or splayed, it’s time to get a new one.
  • When you’ve brushed, spit out instead of rinsing (this helps the fluoride stay on your teeth longer).
  • Clean between your teeth daily. If you find using dental floss tricky, try flossers or interdental brushes.
  • Use mouthwash to get rid of leftover bacteria and food particles in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Try to watch how much sugar you eat and how you eat it. If you’re having something sweet, try to eat it all at once, as having small amounts of sugary foods throughout the day can be more damaging to your teeth.
  • Finally visit your dentist as regularly as they recommend for expert advice.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.