For many people, summer means sun, fun and travel. For people with braces, however, travel can be somewhat complicated, especially if they aren’t properly prepared. To ensure that your braces treatment stays on track, consider the following expert tips for traveling with braces.
Pack Everything You Will Need
When packing for your trip, don’t just grab your toothbrush and toothpaste. Think about everything you will need to properly care for your braces, teeth and mouth while you are away from home. Bring a floss threader if you need one. If you wear Invisalign, bring along your protective case to hold your aligners when you eat and drink.
If your wires or braces chafe the inside of your lips, you can use a special wax to prevent this. Be sure to purchase enough wax before your travel, so you won’t have to deal with discomfort while you are away from home.
It’s also best to bring along anything you might need during an orthodontic emergency, especially if you will be camping. This includes over-the-counter pain medication, along with tweezers or nail clippers to deal with a potential loose wire.
Maintain Your Oral Care Routine
When most people have braces for a while, they develop effective routines that help keep their mouths clean. Unfortunately, traveling can throw off these routines. When this occurs, you can have great difficulty getting back on track once you arrive home. To avoid problems, make a conscious effort to keep up with your dental routine. This means brushing and flossing regularly, especially after eating. You should also be drinking plenty of water to help rinse away food debris. It’s also a good idea to carry a travel toothbrush inside in your purse or pocket.
If you are caught away from your home or hotel without a toothbrush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with mouthwash or clean tap water, and then brush as soon as possible.
Avoid Troublesome Foods
It’s important to maintain good habits even when you’re outside of your normal routine. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, this means avoiding crunchy, hard, chewy or sticky foods that can damage your braces. This includes things like caramels, nuts, popcorn and anything else that could harm your dental equipment.
If you think this will put a damper on your vacation, don’t worry. You can still enjoy plenty of delicious foods, including ice pops, Italian ice and fruit sorbet, along with summertime staples such as ice cream, fresh berries and watermelon.
Don’t Take a Break from Your Aligners
If you wear Invisalign aligners, you may feel tempted to take them out for photos or while you’re enjoying time with friends. To ensure your treatment stays on track, however, you need to wear your aligners 22 hours a day, even while you are traveling.
Get a Checkup
If you are due for a checkup or adjustment, be sure to maintain this appointment before you leave town. You should also see your local orthodontist if you notice any issues with your braces that could impact your treatment or comfort while you are traveling. Although it may be tempting to put off your appointment until after your vacation, it’s best to address any small issues before they become troublesome problems that make traveling less enjoyable.