With August now well under way, many of us are jetting off on our holidays, excited about a break from the norm, and an opportunity to soak up some sunshine. Whether you’re flying off somewhere exotic, have chosen to opt for a ‘staycation’ holidaying in the UK, or are looking forward to family days out and visiting new places, the chances are that normal routines will be thrown out of the window. Bedtimes will be relaxed, there will be no early starts, and there will be a few more treats than normal. However, whilst unwinding and enjoying a slower pace of life, it’s important to still maintain your oral hygiene routine, and prioritise your oral health care.
The Oral Health Foundation recently teamed up with Polo® Sugar Free to investigate how our oral hygiene habits change when we are at music festivals. They found that over thirty percent of their respondents only reached for their toothbrush once a day, if at all, whilst at a festival. Ten percent of those that took part in the study admitted that they did not brush their teeth for the entirety of their break. Whilst music festivals differ from other holidays or vacations that we may go on, they do reflect the change in routine, priorities, and the tendency to relax our habits, and there are important lessons to be considered as a result of this research.
Whilst on holiday, many of us indulge in a larger amount of alcohol than normal, and may also reach for foodie treats too. Many of the food items we might opt for whilst away, as well as alcoholic drinks, contain a high amount of sugar. This sugar contributes towards tooth decay and other oral health problems. Combined with a reduction in tooth brushing due to relaxed routines and different priorities, this can spell bad news for our teeth.
In order to promote oral health, it is advised that we brush our teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time. Whilst this might seem like an interruption to the holiday mood or activities, it really is worth taking the time to prioritise your oral routines, and working to protect your teeth from the risks of sugar consumption. If you have a good routine established before you go away on holiday, it is much easier to maintain this whilst away, and continue it when you return home, rather than having to reintroduce a routine relaxed when you’re already suffering from the ill effects of tooth decay.
So, whilst you’re busy planning what you’ll do during your break, or dreaming of sandy beaches and cocktails in the sunshine, make sure you give thought to your packing. Remember to take your toothbrush and toothpaste, and ensure you prioritise maintaining your smile whilst you’re relaxing and enjoying the Summer.
If you’re interested in learning more about the research carried out by the Oral Health Foundation and Polo® Sugar Free, please see the Oral Health Foundation website.