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Dental Care on Family Road Trips

It’s 6am. You’ve already been driving for an hour.

Little Timmy is in the back seat and you know he’s going to wake up soon. He had extra garlicky pizza right before he enjoyed his evening carbohydrate crash. Timmy is also a mouth breather (what toddler isn’t), so his dry mouth has undoubtedly exasperated his forthcoming halitosis.

He’s going to want some in-your-face morning-snuggles when you pull over for a stretch/coffee/bathroom break.

And don’t forget that you were swigging coffee while crunching on some cheesy nacho chips shortly before you went to sleep. You also can’t reach your water bottle in the back seat, so you’re also feeling a little cotton-mouthed.

Your move, parent!

The topic of bad breath is something we’ve tackled before on the blog (link). We’ve also previously talked about how good hydration goes a long way for children’s oral health (link).

This time we’re going to give some tips for handling the basics on an extended family road trip. These may be helpful in a girthy swath of contexts.

Car Consumables

What’s the primary issue after eating a handful (or six) of fromage-powder nacho chips? Neon orange flavour residue. Sure, you can lick the dusty goodness off your digits, but you’ll need to wash your hands eventually. Now apply that principle to your (and little Timmy’s) teeth and a bunch of different foods you munch on.

  • Water is key. Your mouth needs good, clean moisture for oral health. Good hydration goes a long way for adult oral health as well. We expand on this point in the aforementioned article about drinking water for children.

“Fuzzy” feeling teeth? Yuck, right! Well, there are some snacks you can eat to help with that.

  • Hard, crunchy fruits, vegetables and nuts. While you can’t achieve the best of clean teeth without intentionally cleaning your teeth, these snacks can help stave off that fuzzy-toothed unpleasantness. How? One example is a crisp apple – the way you bite into an apple (with the peel!) means the hard, fibrous fruit scrapes across your incisors and cuspid teeth. That scraping can be a temporary help and the juices from eating a fresh apple will help aid hydration.

Travel Kit

There are some common essentials that you should pack with you anytime you hit the road. While not everything on this list may apply to little Timmy, parental discernment will guide how you apply these to Timmy’s context.

  • Sugar-free gum. Similar principle as the crunchy snacks, except you trade the immediate benefit of crunching with the long-term repetition of chewing.

  • Fresh or bottled water. You can brush your teeth anywhere where you have clean water (and somewhere to politely rinse and spit). Don’t underestimate the usefulness of H2O for your oral health!

  • Mouthwash. Most gas stations and pharmacies have neat little travel-sized bottles. Or, if you use a more specialized mouthwash, you can pour some of your home stock into a sterile water bottle. Just make sure it’s clearly marked and out of little Timmy’s reach!

  • Travelling toothbrush & toothpaste (i.e. something you’re not afraid to lose or throw out).

  • Floss-picks. These are those handy two-in-one tooth-pick + floss stick things. You can typically buy a substantial amount of them for relatively cheap at a grocery or dollar store.

  • Any necessities for braces. If someone in your adventuring party has braces, maintaining their good habits is vital. Don’t let this one slip your mind!

The Number One Dental Travel Tip

The best way to prepare your chompers for an extended road trip is to visit your dentist before you go. They may even have some extra, top-secret travel tips for you based on your trip context. Get in touch with us today to schedule that pre-trip appointment!

So, did we explain anything you didn’t already think of? We’re guessing not! However, sometimes it’s helpful to be reminded of the basics. Let your dentist know if we missed anything!

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