Summer break means time for family vacations! Dental health is important even when you’re on the road, so plan ahead. Whether you’re heading to the beach, a camping trip, a new city or to see family in another state, tooth decay doesn’t wait. Here are our best tips on how to care for kids’ teeth and gums while you’re traveling.

Make Time for a Check-up

Establishing a dental home for your children before you leave for vacation is very important. Make sure your child is up to date on their regular cleanings and exams before you leave so your dentist can address any issues or concerns. No one wants to deal with a toothache on vacation!

Pediatric Smiles and Dr. Francois are available 24 hours a day for emergency phone calls for established patients should an issue arise on vacation. We will have access to your dental records and can often give assessment via the phone. Keep our contact information close at hand when on the road!

Forgotten toothbrushes?

What do you do if you forget your toothbrushes? It happens more than you’d expect, especially with independent littles excited to do their own packing.

Even if all you have is water, rinsing well after eating or drinking can help rinse away sugars – until you are able to brush. You could also put some toothpaste on a clean washcloth or your clean finger in a pinch. When you finally get to the nearest drugstore, look for a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If there aren’t any Seal products, buy the softest brush you can find.

Transporting your Toothbrush

While letting your toothbrush air dry is the best way to store it at home, that is not always possible on vacation. We recommend simply transporting your toothbrush in a plastic zip-lock bag and removing it to air dry when you arrive at your destination. Keeping your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things is more important than making sure it’s dry on vacation. While travel cases seem like a great way to protect your toothbrush, these moist environments actually carry bacteria that can grow on toothbrushes.

Brush with Bottled Water

When in doubt of the water source, brush with bottled water. For instance, on that wilderness adventure, choose bottled water over the stream by your campsite. Harmful bacteria can be present in untreated water and you want to keep yourself and your children safe.

Pack Healthy Snacks

Pack a cooler or bag of snacks, but be selective. Choose tooth-friendly foods like baby carrots, celery and apples or healthy snacks like string cheese, yogurt tubes, whole grain crackers or plain nuts. Pass on soda and sugary drinks and opt for water or sugar-free beverages instead. Snacking and family road trips go hand in hand, as long as you’re focusing on snacks that are good for children’s teeth.

Enjoy Yourself!

Did your kids indulge in too many sweets? Did a day at the beach make everyone too exhausted for nightly flossing? Don’t beat yourself up! Just make sure to get your kids back into a good dental care routine when you get back.