Top 7 Teeth Tips for When You Travel

Traveling with Your Teeth

While working on another blog post about what to pack in your carry-on bag for a long flight, I got sucked into reading a few things about teeth and general dental care while traveling and felt it was important enough to write about.

Sure, this is an odd subject and not too many people consider the care of their teeth when traveling.

I can’t imagine having to deal with some sort of tooth emergency while traveling and I am pretty obsessed with my teeth. I was one of those kids who had some mangled looking teefers and have spent close to $10,000 ensuring they are straight, healthy, pearly and I don’t suffer from yuck mouth. The thought of something happening to my teeth while traveling gives me a tooth ache. See what I did there?

This is me. Age 9. The beginnings of mangled teeth. Certain family members still have pics of me with a horrible smile and use them for blackmail purposes from time to time.

I should inform you that I am not a dentist and these Top 7 Teeth Tips (geez – say that 3 times really fast) for when you travel are based on a compilation of other sites which I have referenced for you!

Exclusive Amazon Discount offer for Girls Gone Abroad readers!

1.Get your dental work done a couple of weeks before you travel.

Go get your teeth cleaned and inspected before your trip. If you find out you need a filling, tooth extraction or a root canal, you’ll have to take care of it as long as your flight is a few weeks after the procedure. The air pressure in a flight cabin can do weird things to our bodies and while it may or may not affect you, it’s better to make sure that you are fully healed and all is well after a major dental procedure.

2. Make sure you have your dentist’s phone number with you.

We don’t normally keep our dentist’s number handy but you never know when you might need to contact your dentist, so just in case, be sure you have their phone number. In the event you find yourself needing dental care, you can always call your dentist to also get a second opinion.

See: Sick on the Road

3. Check your dental insurance coverage.
Are you covered while hanging out with the Sherpas?

What about while running with the bulls? Random break-dancing battle or boxing match?

Hector Camacho, Jr. I don’t believe he has ever lost a tooth. Photo Credit: me!

You may want to call and check your dental coverage and if you’re not covered, consider getting some coverage if you plan on doing anything a tad bit risky.

If you do find yourself needing dental work, be sure to keep copies of receipts and records so you can share them with your insurance company for possible reimbursement and of course, records for your dentist.

Don’t have insurance? Google and do some research before you leave!

See: Does Travel Insurance Cover Dental

4. Know what to do if you knock out a tooth.

I’ve never been in a bar fight although came super close one time in Greece when I was accosted by “flannel girl”. I’d like to think that if I was ever in a bar fight I would either lose a tooth or knock someone’s tooth out.

In either situation, this is what you (or they) should do according to the American Dental Association.

Gently hold it by the crown also known as the white part and gently rinse off your tooth, but don’t scrub it.

Then put it back in your socket. (UGH!!!)
If you can’t put it back in your socket, then keep it between your cheek and gums or a cup of milk. You know…in case you happen to have a cup of it sitting around.

Next, get to a dentist quickly! Some hospitals can also provide emergency dental care.
If you happen to be prone to getting teeth knocked out on occasion, then maybe you need an emergency tooth preservation kit. Who knew these things existed? You can easily find these on Amazon.

5. If you lose a filling which is far more common than losing a tooth. 

Common sense reminds us that biting down on something super hard or sticky could cause you to lose a filling but for those of you who like to open beer bottles with their teeth or love that sticky or hard type of candy, losing a filling could be a common occurrence.

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/@elena-buzmakova-borisova-1425230

In your moment of primal behavior or satisfying your sweet tooth, be sure to know what to do if this happens to you. It’s not usually an emergency, but if you don’t get it taken care of right away, it could cause you to need a root canal. For a temporary solution, use over-the-counter dental cement like DenTek Lost Filling Repair – Walmart – until you can see a dentist.

I would recommend keeping some of this in your travel kit as this may be hard to find while traveling and I can’t imagine having to translate this!

If you’re reading this while abroad, then you might have a better chance of finding clove oil which can help reduce the sensitivity and pain. Go look in a drug store, grocery store or spice market and use a cotton swab or something else soft to gently apply it to the sensitive area.

Clove oil can also act as an instant breath freshener which you might need right before a random break-dancing battle.

*Just be careful when using too much clove oil as it can irritate your gums.

Hm. I wonder if you could make a spray out of clove oil and use it as pepper spray AND breath freshener!? Dual purpose? I’m going to have to do some more research on this.

Has it been sterilized?

6. Finding a Dentist overseas

Do some prep work before you travel.

Depending on where you are traveling to, dental care may not be easily accessible and you also need to be aware of their cleanliness standards. I do my research in case I decide to get a tattoo in the country I am visiting. Same due diligence applies when researching dentists.

I bet you one of these is an ancient tooth extractor. Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine_in_ancient_Rome

Search for dentists and check Yelp reviews, if available. If you find yourself in the dentist’s office/tent/cave, check the cleanliness of the environment and equipment.

Is the equipment sealed? Is there an autoclave? Are they actually using it? *An inspection of this sorts applies in your home country as well!

Here’s a great CNN article with great information about cross-infection in a dental office.

Remember. You want to return to your home country with memories and souvenir magnets, not diseases (of any kind).

7. Pack Dental Floss.

I floss every day. Once, I forgot my dental floss and had to buy some in Paris and it costs me almost $7.00. NOT kidding. Maybe this isn’t a typical price, but I had to have it.

Don’t forget a) to floss every day and b) pack it with you.

Last but not least, smile and “SAY CHEESE!”

Aerial Yoga – Hanging Out At Uplift Maui

Aerial Yoga – Hanging Out at Uplift Maui

When you go to Maui you expect to “hang ten” if you’re brave enough to surf. Personally, I am not into surfing because I am afraid that the surfboard may knock me out or I become a shark snack. Instead, I hung out at the Uplift Maui studio at Hotel Wailea and took an aerial yoga class. No sharks involved.

No, really. I literally hung out for an hour taking an aerial yoga class taught by the amazing Dre, not to be confused with Dr. Dre. The class was awesome! 

I love to be upside down! - GGA
I love to be upside down! – GGA

It’s been a while since I have done anything related to aerial silks or trapeze, two things that I do for “fitness” so I was pretty excited about this class.

If you never heard of aerial yoga, it’s yoga that you do with the help of an aerial sling – think of a hammock or swing that is made of silk. It helps you sort of “defy gravity” and supports you during certain poses. For some beginners, this may actually be impossible to do without help from the sling. Dre refers to the sling as a “dance partner” that you may have to get used to.

Speaking of Dre…

Dre, Andrea a.k.a. Dre, was my first aerial silks instructor who had moved to Maui a couple of years ago to persue her dream of opening her own yoga studio. There was no way I was NOT going to take one of her classes during my visit. Besides, my bikini said it’s time to get back into a fitness routine plus the location for this particular class which was at Hotel Wailea is freakin’ beautiful!

Andrea and CaSandra - GGA
Andrea and CaSandra – GGA

Luckily, I ended up being able to get into her aerial yoga – basic class designed for beginners only because a student had cancelled. Dre’s classes tend to book up pretty quickly!

Dre has always been an amazing teacher. She is very patient with beginners and describes alternatives for those who may be a bit more advanced.

She also has “hawk eyes”. Meaning, if she sees you doing something that might cause you to live out the rest of your days in a wheelchair, she catches it and will quickly correct you. Even after class and you think she’s only paying attention to you while you chat away while others are taking selfies while hanging upside down. She’s always watching – like a hawk.

You can read more about Dre on her website. Girl’s got some creds so you’ll be in good silks hands.

The class – Aerial Yoga Basics

You don’t need any yoga experience to take this class. Dre demonstrates the poses for the class and explains how to get into the sling and all that fun stuff.

We did lunges, planks, things that stretch your back, thighs, hips,  your mind – ok maybe not your mind – and even some handstand stuff. I was quite sore the next day and it felt great!

My favorite part was hanging upside down because I was a bat in a former life.

Sometimes your whole body is in the sling and sometimes only partially. Keep in mind that because you are using a sling and you are putting some weight into it, it may feel a little uncomfortable at first.

Aerial Yoga in Maui - GGA
Aerial Yoga in Maui – GGA

Dre will help you adjust if you feel like you are being pinched or it just feels weird. If you plan on doing aerial yoga often, you will get used to the sling like a dance partner who might be stepping on your feet often.

Location – Hotel Wailea – Maui

I am not exaggerating when I say that the location is paradise. Uplift Maui is located in the wellness studio overlooking the pool area and a beautiful view of the ocean at the adult-only Hotel Wailea.

The round shaped room has a very zen, feng shui feel to it and you seriously have to remind yourself that you are “really there”.

Classes are open to the public but if you are a guest of Hotel Wailea you can receive complimentary classes.

Other Classes

While I only had time for one class, Uplift Maui offers more classes and you can view the schedule and book a class here. You can even book a private lesson or semi-private lesson and don’t be afraid to try a a trapeze or aerial silks class! You’ll be hooked! In a good, safe way, of course.

So if you happen to be on your way to Maui for whatever reason – book a class and tell Dre you read my cool blog and I convinced you to take her class!

Aloha, mahalo and namaste!

 

May the Bowel be With You

Never drink the water.

This was the first rule that was drilled into my head when I started traveling. Never drink tap water in any country, even if it’s an industrialized or westernized country. Use bottled water when brushing your teeth. Be careful about eating too many raw fruits or vegetables because they too contain water. I’ve been told to not eat ice cubes. International water bad. Bad bad bad.

For the most part, I have followed this advice as stomach issues are the last thing I want to experience on any trip. I always have bottled water handy and I convince myself that the alcohol kills any issues ice cubes may give me in my margaritas. I was proud of my track record of 19 countries visited without incident.

Then I went to Morocco.

Casandra and I were extremely excited about visiting our first African nation. Armed with basic Arabic phrases (although the majority of locals spoke French – do your research prior to the trip!) we bebopped through Fez…Marrakech…the Sahara…on trucks…in motorcades…on camelbacks….and filled our bellies with the nationally renowned tagine dishes. We ate every variation available with any protein source that the locals recommended. It was oh so delicious. And of course, we both were diligent about drinking only bottled water and ensured the water was boiled in our teas. On the fourth night, we checked into this beautiful riad and began settling in for the night.

Casandra: Ummm…Michelle, do you want to go for a walk?

Michelle: Nah, I’m pretty tired.

Casandra: You sure? Why don’t you go outside for just a little bit? Ok fuck it, I have to use the restroom!

Michelle: What?

<silence>

<not so silent>

Michelle: Ohhhhh myyyy goodness. Don’t worry, I’ll turn the music up!

Casandra: What the fuck?! My stomach! Turn the music up louder!

I laughed my ass off! I laughed and I laughed. Even Casandra laughed as her ass was glued to the toilet. Poor Casandra had been hit with a stomach bug….and just as I started to sympathize with her, it hit me. Fuck. So I ran to the lobby bathroom since Casandra was still in ours and let my bowels scream. Now, it was a very quiet riad and the bathroom had one of those saloon kind of doors that don’t go all the way to the floor…oh the agony of trying to be quiet but also not giving a fuck. All I wanted was to get the gut wrenching insanity out of my body at whatever the cost. After what seemed like a solid 30 minutes, I completed my expulsions and walked out to find an employee standing right outside the door. Fantastic. Perhaps he thought my innards were about to explode so was on standby to help? Or perhaps he seized the opportunity to record the gringo losing it in their bathroom and hoped to create a viral moment? I was too exhausted to even feel shamed. The only thing I knew at that time was that it wasn’t over. And I was right.

Over the next few days, both Casandra and I couldn’t keep anything down. But as dedicated foodies, we didn’t stop eating. Oh no, we just ensured there was a bathroom nearby at all times and came up with a system so that we could guard the door and keep passerby’s from earshot distance. Even though Casandra and I had known each other more than 14 years by this time…I never felt closer to her until this trip. This must be how war veterans feel with their fellow soldiers…Casandra and I had waged our own Saving Private Ryan kind of opening war scene and we came out knowing that we could travel through anything after Morocco.

Till this day, we still don’t know what caused it. It had to be something we both ate since we ruled out the water factor. Our best guess was that it was a spice that was used in the tagine dishes or maybe it’s because we ate so many of them so we had spice overload. Our next guess is that it could have been all the mint teas we drank and maybe our system wasn’t used to having so much fresh mint. I never would have guessed that after all this time worrying about water, that something completely different would be the one to get me. But the one thing we will never guess about again is whether or not to bring that anti-diarrheal pack. Take our advice and bring it.