ORAL HYGIENE WHILST BACKPACKING
So: you’ve got your little language booklet to help you ask for important information such as ‘where is the train station’ and ‘sorry, can I have two more of those delicious meals please?’; your travel towel is packed, ready for drying you off after swimming with dolphins or being caught in a deluge; and you’ve finally decided on the route (vaguely) that you’re going to be taking on your backpacking adventure. You may have thought that you’ve considered everything, absolutely every possibility and eventuality – but have you considered how you are going to clean your teeth whilst on the road?
It may feel like a silly question, but the trouble is with backpacking is that it is only when you start to do it that you realise just how many things get complicated when you do not live in a home. Take brushing your teeth, for example. If you typically brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush, then you are going to struggle to be able to use it on the side of a road in Nepal. If, on the other hand, you use a standard manual toothbrush, where are you going to be able to get toothpaste from if you’re still having problem remembering to charge your phone?
Oral hygiene when you are backpacking is usually the last thing that anyone wants to think about, but the health of your teeth has such a dramatic knock on effect on the health of our bodies that they are too important to ignore, even whilst you are backpacking. That is why we’ve put together these three short tips to make it that little bit easier:
Brush When you can, not When you want
One of the most common mistakes that people make when they go backpacking is that they try to keep all of the typical daily routine things in exactly the same routine that they had when they lived at home. Breakfast at a certain time, lunch at a certain time, brushing your teeth at a certain time – that’s not how it works when you’re backpacking. If you want to make sure that brushing your teeth doesn’t feel like a chore, don’t carve out a particular time of day that you have to do it: just make sure that you do it when you can.
Floss floss floss
We spoke to Dr Paige Woods for a bit of research, and as a well respected San Diego dentist she said that she could recommend flossing while you are travelling enough. If there is any food or debris left in your teeth after brushing that definitely shouldn’t stay there for long, and it’s usually only something like floss that can get it out. By flossing every day, you should be able to keep your teeth healthy as you travel. You can even use your dental floss for other useful things like cutting soft things, and for tying things up.
Use Bottled Water
Although this is only relevant for some countries that you are travelling in, it is better safe than sorry. Use bottled water when you are brushing your teeth, because you have no idea whether or not the local tap water is contaminated or not – and do you want to take that risk? Having bottled water also ensures that the water is completely fresh, and so you don’t have to worry about it.
Keeping your oral hygiene up when you are backpacking is difficult – but then, for many people keeping up any sort of hygiene when they are backpacking is almost impossible! However, if you have a spare five minutes then make sure that you use it wisely, and brush your teeth.
Reference – http://paigewoods.com