With the holiday season right around the corner, many families are planning to travel in the upcoming months. In fact, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics says Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s are the country’s busiest traveling days. Whether you plan to travel across town or abroad, you should follow some basic precautions to promote good oral health for yourself.
Cleaning/Checkup Before You Travel
Schedule an appointment with your dentist for a cleaning/checkup before you travel. Going on vacation with a small cavity lingering in your tooth could result in further decay, at which point you may experience severe dental pain on your otherwise enjoyable trip. A quick cleaning and checkup at the dentist will identify any cavities or other oral problems, giving you the peace of mind knowing that your mouth is healthy and ready for the trip.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Don’t forget to bring your toothbrush and toothpaste when traveling. A proper toothbrush should have a small head and soft bristles, allowing you to reach the back molars without causing irritation to your gums. Toothbrushes with stiff bristles may actually work against you by irritating the gums and causing them to recede. Soft-bristle toothbrushes, on the other hand, are gentle and typically do not irritate the gums.
It’s also recommended that you choose a toothbrush and toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal. The ADA has high standards regarding which products are allowed to display its seal. This seal signifies the toothbrush or toothpaste has met or exceeded these standards.
Dental Care Abroad
Many travelers wonder whether or not it’s safe to have dental procedures done abroad. Dentists in the U.S. are held to strict standards set by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among other things, these standards cover the prevention of blood-borne pathogens, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), sterilization and disinfection, dental waterlines, water quality and more. In addition, all medicine prescribed and/or administered by dentists in the U.S. must meet the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) standards.
If you plan on staying away from home for a prolonged length of time, it’s a good idea to check the list of eligible dentists with your dental insurance provider. In the event of a dental emergency, you’ll obviously want to choose a dentist covered by your insurance; otherwise, you could be responsible for paying it out-out-pocket. A phone call to your employer or insurer should reveal which dentists are covered under your insurance.
Or, you can ask your dentist! If you have any questions about best oral care practices, insurance, or anything else related to the health of your mouth and teeth, call one of our dentists at Little Rock Family Dental Care at 501-954-9900 or request an appointment online.