It’s that wonderful time of the year, summer break! For many, that means it is time to travel, whether you go to grandma’s house, the beach, on a mission trip, camping, or overseas. If you have braces, it’s helpful to plan ahead so everything goes smoothly and your treatment stays on track. Here are some helpful tips for traveling with braces.
A visit to your orthodontist is something to consider even before you start to pack. If you are due for a checkup or adjustment it is best to take care of this before you leave to keep your braces working at their maximum efficiency. We will be able to take care of any small issues before they get worse. If you notice anything wrong with your braces and wait to address it until you get back, it can make you feel uncomfortable and even impact your treatment.
This is also a great time to address any questions you may have such as: What do we recommend that you do in case a wire gets loose or something else goes awry with your braces; should you see an orthodontist where you are traveling? Should you wait until you get back and we can see you? Keep in mind that if anything does happen you can call us, and we are happy to answer any questions that you may have about your braces and dental health.
Pack everything you may need. It would be a bummer for you to reach your destination and realize that you forgot something important, then have to scramble to find what you need or even do without. To help you out, here is a list of items you may need to include in your travel kit.
Toothbrush and toothpaste. Keep your toothbrush in a travel case or plastic baggie to keep it clean while traveling, then let it air dry while at your destination. If you are flying, remember that any liquid in your carryon needs to be under 3.4 ounces, including toothpaste.
Floss, floss threaders, and/or interdental cleaners. Don’t forget to bring enough to last the whole trip!
Orthodontic wax. If your braces are new, or if you are bothered by a wire or bracket, you will definitely be glad that you brought it along.
A small mirror. This will help you keep your braces clean, and deal with any wires that may become loose.
A small bottle of water. If you are camping or in a country that may not have clean water, bring a small bottle of water for cleaning your teeth and rinsing your toothbrush. Getting sick from dirty water is a sure way to ruin a vacation.
Anything else you may need, which may include tweezers or nail clippers to handle a loose wire, and the protective case for Invisalign aligners, a sports mouth guard, or night mouth guard.
Have a plan in case of a dental emergency. Bring our number along. If you have any questions, we are glad to help. We can let you know if you need to see someone right away, or if it can wait until you get home. If you are going to be overseas and do need to see someone right away, you can get a recommendation from the U.S. embassy or local consulate. It is generally a good idea to know how to contact the U.S. embassy or local consulate anytime you are traveling out of the country.
Stick with your oral care routine. This is one of the most difficult, but also one of the most important. Keeping your teeth clean helps shorten the length of your treatment and also prevents cavities and gum disease. If you let your routine slide on vacation, it is difficult to resume once you get back home. If you simply cannot brush and floss as you normally would, be sure to rinse very well each time you eat, then brush as soon as you can. This may require a more conscious effort than you want to expend, but it will pay off when your braces are removed and reveal your new, beautifully aligned smile!
Follow your orthodontic care instructions. If you are supposed to use rubber bands or wear invisible aligners, don’t let the fun of your trip distract you from following your orthodontic instructions. Since continuous force moves your teeth into the proper position, skipping even a few days can delay your treatment. You are putting so much effort into a beautiful smile, there is no sense letting anything delay it.
Eat the right foods. Although it is fun to try all the new foods, and indulge in different or exotic sweets, you don’t want to risk damaging your braces. Don’t forget to avoid crunchy, sticky, chewy, or hard foods. Pack snacks for long flights so hunger doesn’t tempt you to eat the airlines nuts or pretzels. You can still enjoy a wide variety of local foods if you remember the guidelines for eating with braces and cut your food into small bites.
Go back to your routine when you get home. Whether or not you follow the guidelines while on vacation, be sure to get back on track with your oral care routine and eating as soon as you get home. A good routine helps you keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.
Although it may seem like a hassle to follow these recommendations while on vacation, you only have braces for a relatively short time in order to gain a lovely, well-aligned smile for a lifetime. It is worth the extra effort during a vacation or two so you can enjoy your healthy, beautiful smile without unnecessary delays. We hope you enjoy your summer, no matter what plans you have!
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At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.
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