How To Tackle Oral Care While Away From Home

You’re on vacation and you start experiencing a painful toothache or other dental concern. The fear is that you are far from home and from your regular dentist. What should you do when you have a dental crisis? Here are some tips on what to do when you’re on the road and your teeth need special care and attention.

First of all, you don’t want to panic. There are always viable solutions to problems. You might want to consider making an appointment for a dental checkup before you leave on your trip, especially if you’re traveling to developing countries or remote areas without access to good dental care. Thinking ahead and logically is always important. Have your teeth cleaned.  This is especially important if you have gum disease. If you will be away for an extended time, consider having any partially exposed lower wisdom teeth removed.

All root canal treatment should be completed before going on vacation to prevent potential infections and pain due to pressure changes during air travel. If traveling to poorer countries, immunization against Hepatitis B might be a good idea in case dentists abroad are not vaccinated. This does require a series of vaccinations beginning six months in advance of your trip. It is important to take all things into consideration. While on the road, you’ll want to consider some preventive tactics, since it is better to be safe than sorry. Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candy, as they can be harmful to your teeth. In addition, don’t use your teeth to cut tape or other materials.

Here is some advice on how to deal with common dental problems. First, off toothaches – clean your mouth by rinsing with warm water. Gently use dental floss to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums or near the aching tooth, because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact a dentist.

If you have a broken tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the area to keep swelling down and then call a dentist immediately. For a cracked tooth, apply cold compresses to control swelling and then go to a dentist or a hospital emergency room. For a knocked-out tooth:

Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments.

If you have travel insurance or assistance policy, the company’s 24-hour hotline can refer you to qualified dental care when you’re away from home, as well as provide translation help, if needed.  In addition, many countries have dental associations that can provide referrals.

At the end of the day, a healthy body starts with a healthy mouth, and taking the necessary steps and precautions to maintain proper oral care is important. WHO (World Health Organization) shares some unsatisfying oral care statistics that should inform people to take care of their teeth and gums. Globally, 60–90% of school children and almost 100% of adults have dental cavities. Maintaining a constant low level of fluoride in the oral cavity can prevent dental cavities. Major gum disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15–20% of adults aged 35- 44 years old.


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