Help Kids Take Care of Their Teeth During Travel

Kids, Dental Care, and Travel | Dentistry for Children & Adolescents
Posted on 11/19/2018

NovBlogWhen you're on a vacation, it can be easy to let your family's dental care slide along with other aspects of your normal routine. Unfortunately, children may experience dental decay and other problems with their teeth and gums if they neglect their dental care for even a little while. Follow these tips to help kids take good care of their teeth even when they're traveling.

Splurge on Fun Travel Dental Care Tools

Struggling with kids who don't want to brush their teeth is the last thing you need on a vacation that's supposed to be fun for all members of the family. Prevent this by splurging on travel-sized dental care tools that appeal to kids. Themed dental care travel kits featuring characters like Hello Kitty, pop stars, and superheroes can be found in box stores and drug stores.

Emphasize the fun of these dental care tools by setting aside a shopping day before your trip. Hype up how fun it is to choose fun, travel-sized dental care products. Point out the smaller size and how easy they'll be to pack in a suitcase. Get excited about the travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste you buy for yourself, and younger kids are likely to follow your lead.

Pack Teeth-Friendly Snacks

Many convenience foods that are readily available during travel are not good for your teeth. Fast food restaurants have healthier choices these days, but even making a healthier choice like sugar-laden juice over a sugary soda isn't ideal for your dental health. Think ahead and pack dental-friendly snacks so you aren't tempted to grab whatever's convenient when kids get hungry.

Some teeth-friendly snacks you can pack for travel include:

  • Fresh fruits – Pack a whole orange, tangerine, apple, or strawberries for your kids to enjoy on the go.
  • Raw vegetables – Put raw celery and carrot sticks in resealable bags for a quick snack.
  • Seeds – Put pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds in separate bags for quick, convenient snacks. Alternately, mix them together for a yummy seed mix.
  • Nuts – Grab tins of peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other nuts for travel.
  • Plant-based milks – Put unsweetened oat milk, almond milk, flax milk, walnut milk, or soy milk in thermoses for kids to enjoy a nutritious drink during travel.
You may also want to bring along sugarless gum to satisfy a craving for sweets.

Set Realistic Expectations

Children may have very unrealistic expectations when they travel. That's especially true if it's their first time in a new place. For example, if you're going to Disney World, a child may envision themselves becoming a princess. Daydreaming is healthy, but kids need to realize that they will still need to do routine chores to take care of themselves on the vacation.

As part of planning your vacation, talk to your kids about the fact that they still need to take care of their teeth and gums during the trip. Get children to agree that they will still brush their teeth twice per day as well as floss and swish with mouthwash once per day. Gently remind them of this a couple of times in the days before your vacation.

Listen to Dental-Care Objections

Although you may set dental-care rules for your kids while on vacation, they may still fuss about dental care. Before you insist on sticking to the schedule, first hear your kids out. Some open-ended questions you may have for your kids if they don't want to brush their teeth include:

  • What do you think will happen to your teeth if you don't brush?
  • How does brushing your teeth make you feel?
  • What do you think is a better solution?
  • Why do you think I want you to brush your teeth?
These questions may help kids think twice and realize why they should brush.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

In addition to having a regular first-aid kid with you when you travel, create a dental first-aid kit. This kit should include a child-safe painkiller to offer oral pain relief in case one of your kids gets a toothache during travel. It should also include a place to store a tooth in case your child loses a tooth on the trip. You may also include temporary filling material in the kit.

Put cotton, clean cloths, and gauze in your dental first-aid kit in case you need to apply pressure to an area of the mouth or absorb blood if a tooth gets loose. If your kids have braces, add orthodontia wax. Also, pack table-salt packets for swishing with salt water as needed.

Put your dentist's business card in the first-aid kit, and make sure you have their information readily available in your cell phone. If you're traveling out of the country, get the information for the U.S. embassy or local consulate in case you need an emergency dentist while overseas.

Finally, talk to your dentist about any questions you have about dental care on the go. Take your children in for a checkup before going on a big trip if they've had any recent issues with their teeth or gums. Contact Dentistry for Children & Adolescents to make an appointment today for your kids' next cleanings


Dentistry for Children & Adolescents

  • Edina Office - 7373 France Ave. S., Suite 402, Edina, MN 55435 Phone: 952-831-4400
  • Burnsville Office - 14050 Nicollet Ave., Suite 100, Burnsville, MN 55337 Phone: 952-435-4102
  • Eden Prairie Office - 6385 Old Shady Oak Road, Suite 150, Eden Prairie , MN 55344 Phone: 952-932-0920

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