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Fedoricw, Massoumi, & Kolbig

Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene While Traveling

woman sitting in an airline terminal

Traveling offers a break from the norm, but your oral hygiene routine should never take a holiday. The importance of maintaining oral hygiene while on the move cannot be overstated, as neglecting it can lead to discomfort and health issues that could tarnish your travel experience. This blog will delve into essential tips for keeping your oral health in check while exploring new destinations. We’ll cover everything from pre-trip dental check-ups to the must-have items in your travel dental kit, and how to handle oral care on the go. By understanding the critical role of oral hygiene in your overall health and well-being, you can ensure that your adventures are memorable for the right reasons, keeping your smile bright and healthy no matter where your travels take you.

Pre-Travel Preparation

Schedule a Dental Check-up: 

Scheduling a dental checkup before traveling is a proactive step crucial for ensuring oral health while on the move. This preemptive visit allows your dentist to detect and treat any existing dental issues, such as cavities, gum disease, or other conditions that could worsen during your trip. A checkup can prevent the inconvenience and discomfort of dental emergencies far from home, where familiar and reliable dental care might not be readily available. Moreover, your dentist can provide valuable advice tailored to your travel plans, such as managing oral care in different climates or with limited resources, and recommend specific products or strategies to maintain your oral hygiene. This checkup ensures you can embark on your journey with confidence, knowing that your dental health has been thoroughly assessed and addressed.

Pack a Travel Dental Kit: 

Here’s a comprehensive list of items to pack in your dental travel kit to ensure you maintain excellent oral hygiene while on the move:

  • Toothbrush: Opt for a compact, travel-sized toothbrush or a regular one with a protective case to keep the bristles clean.
  • Toothpaste: A small tube of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities and strengthen tooth enamel.
  • Dental Floss: Floss or floss picks for cleaning between the teeth and below the gumline.
  • Mouthwash: A travel-sized bottle of antibacterial mouthwash to help control plaque and freshen breath.
  • Tongue Scraper: To remove bacteria and freshen breath by cleaning the surface of the tongue.
  • Interdental Brushes: For those with braces or dental bridges, these can help clean between teeth and metal wires.
  • Sugar-Free Gum: Chewing gum after meals can stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize acid and clean the teeth.
  • Dental Wax: Useful for individuals with braces to cover sharp edges or brackets that may cause irritation.
  • Pain Relief Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate any oral discomfort.
  • Temporary Dental Repair Kit: Includes temporary filling material and dental adhesive for emergency repairs of crowns, fillings, or dentures.
  • Extra Toothbrush Head: If using an electric toothbrush, pack a spare head in case of wear or damage.
  • Small Mirror: To help inspect hard-to-see areas of the mouth, especially useful in case of dental emergencies or discomfort.
  • Orthodontic Supplies: If applicable, include extra elastics for braces, cleaning tablets for retainers or dentures, and any specific care items recommended by your orthodontist.

Oral Hygiene On the Go

Stick to Your Routine: 

Maintaining your at-home oral care routine is challenging while traveling, but it’s vital. Brush twice a day and floss daily, even if you’re tired or returning late from a day of exploring.

Smart Eating and Drinking: 

Travel exposes you to new cuisines and possibly, more sugary or acidic foods and beverages. Be mindful of these and balance them with water and healthier food choices to neutralize acids and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Opt for teeth-friendly snacks like crunchy fruits and vegetables, which help clean your teeth naturally and stimulate saliva production.

Stay Hydrated: 

Drinking water regularly not only keeps you hydrated but also helps cleanse your mouth, reducing the risk of bad breath and tooth decay. Opt for bottled water if the safety of local water is uncertain.

Dry Your Toothbrush: 

After use, make sure your toothbrush is dry before packing it away to prevent bacterial growth. A toothbrush holder with ventilation holes is ideal.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum: 

Chewing sugar-free gum, especially after meals, can help neutralize acids, increase saliva flow, and dislodge food particles from teeth.

Dealing with Dental Emergencies

Be Prepared: 

Familiarize yourself with common dental emergencies and how to handle them. Pack a small dental first aid kit with items like pain relief medication, temporary filling material, and the contact information of your dentist.

Know How to Access Care: 

Research dental care options in your destination before you travel. If you’re in a country where language is a barrier, knowing phrases related to dental care or having a translation app can be incredibly helpful.

Post-Travel Dental Care

Resume Regular Check-ups: 

After your travels, schedule a dental check-up to ensure that any travel-related dental issues are addressed promptly. This will help maintain your oral health and prepare you for your next adventure.

Assess Your Dental Travel Kit: 

After your travels, you should also assess your dental travel kit and refill items as necessary. You should also assess the condition of your toothbrush and replace it if the bristles have become faded, frayed, or if you were sick during your trip. 


Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your oral health. With the right preparation and habits, you can enjoy your travels without neglecting your dental care. Maintaining oral hygiene while traveling is essential to prevent dental problems and ensure your overall well-being during your journeys. By planning ahead, packing the right oral care essentials, and sticking to your dental routine as closely as possible, you can protect your teeth and gums from common travel-related issues. Regular check-ups before and after trips, along with mindful eating and diligent daily care, can keep your oral health in top condition. With these practices in place, you can enjoy your travels to the fullest, confident in the knowledge that your oral hygiene is well managed, keeping your smile bright and healthy wherever your adventures lead you.

Dr. Roman Fedorciw has been in private practice in Cromwell since 1991. He is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Dental Association. He is also a member of the Connecticut Dental Association and Middlesex County Dental Association. Dr. Fedorciw has been acknowledged by his peers as one of the “Top Dentists” in Hartford County by Hartford Magazine and in the state of Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine.