Toothaches on vacation
Vacationing with a troublesome tooth can be a trip ruiner.
Although vacation is a time to relax and unwind, don't let your dental hygiene habits slip! We all know the feeling of returning to your hotel after a day in the sun - wiped out and craving that comfy mattress - yet make sure you brush your teeth before you hit the hay. If beach bodies matter, what about sultry sunshine smiles? After all, you want to be looking your best on vacation. Teeth whitening, anyone?
Sometimes, for oral health problems, the best treatment is prevention.
"The better job you do at keeping up with the conditions in your mouth, the less likely dental emergencies are to occur," emphasizes Tom A. Howley, Jr., D.D.S., president of the Academy of General Dentistry. "If you are going to go out of the country or to a remote area, see your dentist far enough in advance so that you have time to get work done if needed."
If feel like you may need a dentist in a foreign city, ask your dental specialist at home in advance for the names of dental professionals who have been educated in the U.S.
However, other times we forget and run face-first into the problem. If you've ever flown in an airplane with a toothache, you know how painful it can be. This can be attributed to either tooth decay, cavities or fillings, which create microscopic openings in the tooth for air to get trapped in. When the cabin pressure changes frequently, it fails to align with the pressure in your body. Thus, the air puts pressure on your tooth and produces the ache.
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done during a flight. Some people have found that putting an ice cube on the spot reduces the pain, but this is far from scientifically proven.
If you're visiting the tourist hot spots and encounter a tooth problem, don't worry. There are a few steps you can take if you're experiencing inflamed gums, a crown that has fell off or a chipped tooth.
First off, until you can make it to a dentist, rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to ensure there is no debris triggering the discomfort. Pain relievers such as aspirin may help reduce pain as well.
"If the pain is due to the underlying layer of your teeth - the dentin - becoming exposed, you want to cover the area with sugar-free gum or wax," said Warren Scerer, D.D.S., chairman of the department of general dentistry and management science at the New York University College of Dentistry in New York City.
However, these quick fixes should never be used for extended periods of time. While drug stores may sell do-it-yourself kits, these are typically effective for only 48 hours.
Avoid sweets and spices that may irritate the troubled area. Another option is finding a local dentist to prescribe antibiotics to reduce the infection until the tooth can be properly dealt with. There are even certain regional hospitals with dental residency programs that have emergency facilities.
Brush, floss and rinse!
For the travel essentials, pack fluoride toothpaste, floss and alcohol-free mouthwash in your dopp kit or carry-on bag. All of these come in compact sizes that are perfect for on-the-go. It's simple. Remember the two and two rule: Brush twice each day for two minutes each.
To further complement that sexy tan, keep your mouth clean and look into TheraBreath's teeth whitening options!
Whether you're about to visit the Great Wall of China, the Alhambra or Machu Picchu, it is recommended that people needing cavity treatments seek dental care before their trip. This way, they can enjoy their time off to the fullest!