Even though much of North America is experiencing cold weather right now, many families still have Spring Break getaways on their schedule.
But with great trips comes great responsibility, especially when it comes to your teeth. Our McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental want to issue out a friendly reminder to all of our patients and readers that packing a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some dental floss is the best way to keep their oral and dental health in check while away from home.
In today’s post, our dentists and dental hygienists have come up with five great tips to help you maintain a solid oral health routine while still enjoying the festivities of Spring Break.
Spring Break Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth
1. Maintain a Healthy Brushing and Flossing Routine
A vacation may be just what the dentist ordered, but if you forgot those important teeth-cleaning tools, you can end up hurting your overall oral health.
That’s why it is so important to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss in your carrying case first thing before you pack any of your other belongings. Should you forget to, however, you’re still in luck. You can purchase all these teeth-cleaning tools at a grocery or convenience store on the way to your destination and use them throughout your stay.
When its time to go home, you can leave these extra utensils in your travel kit. That way, you have spare items available for travel.
2. Avoid the Sugary Drinks and Opt for More Water
Sodas, energy drinks, and other sugary beverages may be the go-to when you’re on the road, but they can cause some serious damage to your teeth.
Sugary drinks are like a buffet for bad bacteria that hide in the crevices of your teeth and gums. They feast on the sugars in these drinks and then excrete acid that eats away at the enamel of your teeth. After a while, and without proper dental care, cavities will begin to form, causing pain in your mouth and wallet because of costly treatment.
Instead, opt for drinking water. Water doesn’t have any of the sugars that can cause cavities and better hydrates the body. In fact, water can help preserve your teeth while you’re on the road as it washes plaque and food particles off of those pearly whites.
3. Pack the Good Stuff
Junk food is usually the norm for road trips, but just like sugary beverages, they can ruin your teeth. While it’s okay to indulge every once and a while, there is a bevy of options better for your teeth and body.
Snacks like celery, carrots, apples, and pears offer a delicious alternative to junk food but also act as natural toothbrushes. They are all adept at wiping plaque off of your teeth, gums, and tongue while you chew. As an added benefit, they can freshen your breath.
These healthier alternatives ultimately provide nutrition that is crucial for growing children’s teeth and bones, which is something you won’t often find in junk food. It’ll also help you avoid the sugar highs and lows, which can be a hassle to deal with while traveling.
4. Plan for an Emergency
Spring Break can mean gorgeous sights and exciting activities. If you aren’t careful, however, these physical activities can cause lasting damage to your or your children’s teeth. Just one accident can lead to a chipped tooth, missing tooth, or worse. A little precaution and vigilance is the best plan of action here:
- Let your children know about the dangers of diving into or running around a pool.
- Be mindful of the ground and your surroundings when hiking.
- Wear protective gear during any contact sport (e.g. helmet, mouthguard, etc.).
It’s important for the family to have fun during Spring Break, but with a little prevention, you can avoid bigger problems.
If, for any reason, an accident does occur, don’t panic. Clean the wound and put an ice pack over the area to minimize swelling. Take any knocked out tooth and place it in milk or water to keep it moist. Then, call a dentist for further instruction.
If you’re in or near the Rio Grande Valley area, call our offices at (956) 686-5577 for further assistance, and we will be happy to assist you. If not, reach out to a local dentist in the area you are currently at.
5. Adults, Avoid Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Products
It comes as no surprise that tobacco products like cigarettes are poor for your overall health — not to mention horrible for your oral health and breath as well. But alcoholic drinks can be just as bad.
Alcohol encourages the growth of plaque, and the more plaque you have, the more dental problems you can develop. Plaque also contributes to the wearing down of enamel and production of cavities. Let’s not forget that alcohol can stain your teeth as well. Red wine, we’re looking at you.
As for smoking, aside from the obvious damages that it causes the body, the nicotine and tar that are produced from inhaling a lit cigarette will stain your teeth and give you bad breath. Smoking also promotes the growth of bad bacterial plaque that can cause gum disease. More importantly, smoking can cause a multitude of oral and throat cancers.
Don’t forget to visit WhiteWing Dental in McAllen or La Feria during Spring Break
At WhiteWing Dental, our McAllen dentists take pride in helping shape beautiful smiles for you and your children. Contact us today at (956) 686-5577 to schedule your next dental evaluation and cleaning.