We all can utilize dental travel pack tips. When you think of a “dental kit,”what comes to mind? A toolbox your dentist uses when cleaning your teeth, perhaps? Maybe a kit that can teach people how to be dentists? In reality, dental kits are simply on-the-go dental care kits used by everyday people. Dental kits, or dental hygiene travel packs, are very useful no matter your dental health status, and they’re not as niche as their name might imply.
What Is A Dental Travel Pack?
Whether you’re traveling across the country, around the globe, or just spending the weekend at a friend or family member’s home, packing wisely is key. Unfortunately, one area people are likely to skimp on are their dental supplies. You should pack more than just a toothbrush and toothpaste, and preparing in advance can help you make sure you don’t let your teeth go neglected while you’re away. Making a dental travel pack is a great way to have what you need at the ready.
These travel packs are also known as dental kits, and they can help you save time and prevent tooth decay whenever a travel opportunity arises. Whether you’re wondering, “How do you brush your teeth when traveling?” or “Do I really need anything other than a brush and some toothpaste?”.
Dental Travel Pack Tips: Essentials
Here are the things you shouldn’t go traveling without. Your dental kit isn’t complete without them.
Packing a toothbrush is a pretty obvious choice, but some people need reminding that a toothbrush is a necessity no matter where you are. Also, it’s not always feasible to bring your normal toothbrush on vacation with you, especially if you use an electric toothbrush. Even if you use a basic toothbrush at home, it’s important to keep a fresh brush in your dental kit.
In most cases, you can get away with packing a basic toothbrush from any store, or even a travel-sized variety. Simply buy a pack next time you need to switch out your at-home toothbrush, and stash an extra in your travel kit. That way, if you leave it behind, you have a stockpile of replacements. What matters is that you keep up with your brushing even when you’re away from home.
This is the other item you probably already bring along when you travel—and for good reason, because you’ll need toothpaste when you’re on any trip. Keep in mind that while you’re likely to have access to toothpaste wherever you’re staying, if you need a special brand—such as a sensitivity toothpaste, whitening toothpaste, or gum-friendly toothpaste, bringing your own is a must. Go travel-sized if you can to save some space in the kit, as well as to minimize mess if your kit is mishandled along the way.
Mouthwash is an often-overlooked dental hygiene product. However, if you want to make sure you have a clean mouth and fresh breath when on your vacation, it’s a must-bring. Because normal mouthwash bottles are so big, finding a travel-sized bottle is practically a requirement, especially if you need to bring your dental kit on a plane. In addition, if you don’t want your things to be ruined by a leaking bottle of mouthwash, go small and use your mouthwash sparingly.
It’s not just about brushing. Flossing plays a major role in maintaining a healthy mouth. While you might find some floss for sale at your hotel store, it will come at a cost premium and may not even get you through your trip. Fortunately, floss containers are so small that tossing one or two into your kit won’t take up any space. If you remember to pack floss, you’ll thank yourself later, for sparing yourself the struggle of navigating your vacation with food stuck in your teeth.
If you wear braces, you should be familiar with interproximal brushes and how useful they are. These tools are designed to dislodge food and buildup from bands, wires, and brackets, and can even be used by people who don’t wear braces. An interproximal brush is vital for anyone who struggles to keep their teeth clean with traditional flossers, and should not be skipped when preparing a dental kit.
Dental Travel Pack Tips: Optional Items
Now that you have all your dental kit necessities assembled, that doesn’t mean you need to stop packing your dental kit. There’s plenty more you can add that will ensure you get through your next trip with a clean, healthy mouth. You can get by without these, but consider packing for convenience or unexpected scenarios.
During most trips, you’ll already have access to a mirror you can use while cleaning and examining your teeth. Still, it can be helpful to pack a travel-sized mirror for those times you’re stuck in a traffic jam, waiting on a delayed flight, or simply looking for a quick fix when you’re out and about. Even an old makeup compact with a mirror will get the job done and fit seamlessly in the smallest dental kit.
A Bottle of Water
Water is an essential thing to have with you wherever you go. For the purposes of a dental kit, you’ll need water for more than just hydration. Water can clean the toothpaste out of your mouth after you brush under normal circumstances, and if you’re ever in a situation where normal brushing isn’t possible, swishing water around in your mouth can help you get rid of food particles and lingering acids. Keep in mind that even a sealed bottle of water becomes unsafe to drink if it’s sitting around in the heat for too long. Use a travel-sized bottle that you switch out regularly for the best results.
Did you know that gum can keep your teeth clean? While many brands of gum on the market are sticky, sugary, and unhealthy, sugar-free gum is a good way to freshen your breath without causing damage to your teeth. In fact, it can prevent cavities and help you avoid dryness. Sugar-free gum is especially useful on plane rides because chewing gum can stop your ears from popping at a high altitude.
Note that most gum brands aren’t recommended for patients with braces, because gum can get stuck or even cause damage to brackets and wires. However, contrary to popular belief, some gum brands are approved by the American Dental Association for use by people with braces. Just do your research or talk to your orthodontist ahead of time to learn what sort of gum is approved for your situation.
A tongue scraper helps remove bacteria from the tongue, allowing you to avoid bad breath and other bacteria-related problems. Many toothbrushes already incorporate a tongue scraper on the back end. If you don’t travel, bringing a dedicated tongue scraper can be useful, especially if you have chronic bad breath or bacterial issues that brushing alone won’t resolve.
Other Dental Travel Pack Tips
Aside from knowing what you should pack with you, there are some other tips that can help with your dental kit experience. These general tips will help you make use of the space you have, avoid messes, and keep your kit well-packed and ready to go.
Travel-sized items are the size they are for a reason—they’re far more convenient to bring on a trip compared to the regular retail version of those same items. When it comes to dental hygiene, it may seem like having less product available is a drawback, but most travel-sized items are perfectly suitable for a weeklong trip or more. You only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste each time you brush, and a little bit of floss and a little bit of mouthwash can go a long way. Your dental kit shouldn’t be a large part of your travel gear, and a single bag or lunch box should be able to fit everything you need and more if you use travel-sized items.
You can avoid making a mess if you keep items like toothpaste and mouthwash sealed in a plastic zipper bag. In the best-case scenario, you’ll never need to worry about protecting your things from a spill, but many unexpected things can happen when traveling. Keeping your messiest supplies in separate packaging can keep your kit—and the rest of your travel bag—clean. This tip has the added bonus of keeping your toothbrush and other items germ-free.
Ideally, you’ll pack your kit in advance and replenish it when you get home from a trip. If you already have some travel-sized amenities and a spare toothbrush, you can create a mini dental kit that’s ready to be grabbed on the go. Then, add some of the other items as you build out the perfect dental kit for you. Staying packed avoids the scramble of getting everything ready the day of your trip, ensures that you don’t forget anything vital, and makes it easier to keep everything in one place between trips.
Keep Your Mouth Clean and Fresh With a Dental Travel Kit
There’s no reason to sacrifice dental hygiene just because you’re traveling, especially if you have braces or other orthodontic work. Once your dental kit is ready to go, you can face any dental issue that comes your way when you’re on vacation. Better yet, the more prepared you are, the more you can focus on enjoying your time away from home and less on how to pack and how to keep fresh. It’s easy, and it works, so pack your own dental kit today and avoid the stress later.
*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published July 16, 2019 and has been updated November 14, 2022.
Dr. Tyler Robison is an alum of Mesa’s Mountain View High School. He graduated from Brigham Young University before being accepted to the “Top Ten-nationally ranked” University of Louisville in Kentucky, where he earned his Doctorate in Dental Medicine and a Master’s Degree in Oral Biology. He graduated with honors in the top ten percent of his class. Dr. Robison continued at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, where he received a second master’s degree in dental science and his orthodontic certification.