When Dr. Paddy isn’t hitting the slopes, making smiles sparkle as an Englewood pediatric dentist or teaching Bubbs, the office mascot, new tricks, he loves to travel. He’s all about encouraging his patients to see the country and the world too. Traveling is an awesome experience for kids. It gets them out of their comfort zone and really expands their horizons. However, with that, comes a break in routine, which often means daily habits like brushing and flossing fall to the wayside. If there’s anything you shouldn’t take a vacation from, it’s keeping your chompers clean. To help, Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry has compiled some excellent tips for maintaining good dental care for kids while traveling.
Make a Travel Dental Kit
Put together a bag that includes all of the dental health essentials including a toothbrush, your child’s favorite toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash and any other oral hygiene products you typically use. Though most places will have supplies if you forget them, if you’re going off the grid on a camping trip or opting for international travel with kids, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. You might also want to pack some sugar-free hard candy or sugarless gum (we’ll get to that in a minute). If you’ll be in a place where the water isn’t safe to drink, invest in some bottled water for brushing too since your kids, and yourself, are bound to swallow some while rinsing.
Get the Saliva Flowing
It might come as a surprise but if we’re talking about keeping good dental habits while traveling, spit is important. Saliva is a superhero for beating off those nasty tooth monsters that cause cavities. The bicarbonate, calcium and phosphate found in saliva actually neutralizes the plaque acids that lead to tooth decay. Plus, spit gives teeth a little bath and washes away food and debris. If you’re stuck in the car, or on a plane, or you’re out and about and your kiddos can’t brush after eating or drinking, have them chew on sugarless gum with xylitol in it, which kills sugar bugs, or suck on a sugar-free hard candy to increase their saliva production. Sipping water throughout the trip and rinsing really well also helps and may be the better option for younger kids who aren’t ready for gum.
Bring Healthy Snacks
We’re not saying our patients should skip all treats while on vacation. However, enjoying everything in moderation, especially when it comes to sugar and foods that get stuck in the teeth easily, is your best bet. When you eat candy, desserts, soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, or even things like chips that get wedged in the teeth, and you don’t brush immediately, plaque forms, which eventually leads to cavities. If the kids do indulge, have them brush and floss after or, if that’s not possible, at least rinse with some water. Pack healthy snacks like fruit and yogurt that wash away easily and hydrate with water instead of juice boxes or soft drinks.
Brush on Potty Breaks
Bring travel toothbrushes for the kids and use your pit stops wisely. Whenever you take a break somewhere with a bathroom, have the kids run in and brush their teeth. Even if they just use water to brush, it will still dislodge food bits and help prevent plaque build-up.
Cap the Day off With a Good Brushing and Flossing
We know, we know, you’re tired after a day in the airport or in the car and the kids are getting grumpy. Don’t let the little ones just fall into bed. Make sure when you reach your destination they clean their teeth thoroughly. Supervise to ensure they floss and brush carefully before turning in.
Traveling with kids requires some advanced planning whether you’re going abroad or just heading to grandma’s for the weekend. Make their dental hygiene a priority by adopting some of these tips. Want to start your trip off on the right foot? Contact Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry and get your child in for a check-up and cleaning before you depart. We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!