Proper dental care may be the furthest thing from your mind when Spring Break comes around. The open road is calling, inviting you to travel around this great state of Texas for some rest, relaxation, and fun.
And while you may be ready to take a long vacation, unfortunately, one stress will always remain. Bacterial plaque is what some would consider a “workaholic” and Spring Break is just another work week.
Before you pack your things, gather your friends or family, and hit the road, we here at WhiteWing Dental want to remind you to pack your teeth-cleaning utensils. With the following tips, you can do your best at keeping plaque away, saving your gums from gum disease and your teeth from tooth loss.
1. Avoid Sugary Drinks and Drink Water Instead
Sure, sugary drinks like juice or soda are relatively easy to come by, but drinking them is quite the inconvenience for your teeth. Sugary drinks give the bacteria in your mouth a feast and the acids that this bacteria secretes is strong enough to wear down your teeth’s enamel. With weakened enamel, the risk of cavities becomes greater.
Opting for water instead provides the drinker with a bevy of benefits like being more alert while traveling, staying hydrated, having clearer skin, and washing away bits of food particles and plaque that can stay on your teeth.
[bctt tweet=”An 8 oz. glass of grape juice typically contains 9 teaspoons of sugar! #SugaryDrinks #BadTeeth #WhiteWingDental ” username=””]
2. Pack Healthy Snacks for Your Trip
A handful of chocolate chip cookies sounds like a tasty treat to pass the time, but it’s not quite what the doctor—or dentist, in this case—ordered.
Snacks like chips, cookies, and candy all contain a lot of sugar, and like sugary drinks, they can cause havoc on your teeth. Why not take a few of nature’s toothbrushes like carrots, celery, apples, and pears with you instead?
These healthy, and delicious, snacks not only offer a ton of vitamins and nutrients, but they also help to wipe plaque off of your teeth, gums, and tongue while you chew. As a bonus, they freshen up your breath, which is a great idea if you’ve been stuck in the car for hours.
3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum stimulates the flow of saliva in your mouth, and that extra moisture helps to wash away plaque and leftover bits of food off of your teeth. While any particular piece of gum can do this, sugar-free gum ensures that you aren’t contributing to the sugar problem.
Gum is also great if you are traveling through elevated areas or flying. Chewing gum will help keep your teeth clean and also help you pop your ears, relieving you of any discomfort or pressure buildup.
4. Keep Up With Your Brushing and Flossing Routine
Just because it’s vacation time doesn’t mean that you get to take a break from brushing and flossing. Don’t forget to pack all of your teeth-cleaning utensils with you!
If for some reason it slips your mind, make a quick stop at the local grocery or convenience store to pick up toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss. Grab a few of these and place them in your pack. When your trip is over, leave those supplies in the pack. Not only will you have your home toothbrush, but now you will have a travel toothbrush too.
While you’re at it, it would be a great idea to make a little travel kit for all of your dental hygiene essentials. Leave them in your vehicle, that way they are ready to go for your next trip!
5. Avoid Tobacco Products and Alcohol
Alcohol and tobacco aren’t good for your health, and they aren’t good for your teeth either.
Alcohol promotes the growth of plaque, and the more plaque there is on your teeth, the more toxins are released that make their way to your gums, causing gingivitis. If left unchecked, it can lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.
In fact, people who suffer from alcohol use disorder have higher levels of plaque on their teeth than those who don’t, and with higher levels of plaque, those that suffer from the disorder are three times more likely to experience tooth loss.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, alcohol also tends to stain your teeth, especially if you are drinking red wine. This is a common trait that both alcohol and tobacco share.
Many people are aware that smoking tobacco can wreak havoc on your lungs, throat, and mouth, causing several different types of cancer. Others may know that the nicotine and tar that smokers inhale causes their teeth to stain as well. A lesser-known fact, however, is that smoking contributes to the growth of bacterial plaque that causes gum disease, too.
Couple that with the fact that smoking starves the bloodstream of oxygen, making it harder to repair gum injuries that were caused by smoking to begin with, and you’ve got an oral environment that is even more susceptible to gum disease.
[bctt tweet=”According to @NCHStats current smokers are 4x more likely to have poor #oral #health than those who don’t.” username=””]
Before You Hit the Road, Stop by WhiteWing Dental for a Little Spring Cleaning.
Spring is the perfect time to check in with your dentists in McAllen or La Feria for a routine teeth cleaning. And doing it before you head off on your trip gives you one less reason to worry.