Oral health care is one of those lifestyle choices that we all have to make at an early age. If we choose to neglect our teeth, the impact on our oral health can become visible overnight. Our teeth build up plaque. Our gums become infected and inflamed. Our breath starts to sink. And teeth start to feel loose and make our gums itchy.

When we take care of our oral health, we are confident when we smile. We don’t feel shy about talking to others or kissing a romantic partner because our breath is fresh. In addition, our teeth feel clean and refreshed. Flossing opens up our teeth and allows them to breathe.

 Bad Habits That Affect Oral Health on Vacation

When you are on vacation, your oral hygiene can improve or degrade. It all depends on the type of vacation and whether you are prepared to adapt to the new environment. Most travelers take exceptional care of their teeth when they are on vacation. They want to impress a partner and feel a social obligation to put their best breath forward.

However, other travelers may forget or lose their oral hygiene kits or feel apprehensive about brushing with contaminated water. In these cases, travelers run a serious risk of developing the early stages of periodontal disease.

It only takes 24 hours for the biofilm in our mouths to turn into a hardened plaque. This biofilm is comprised of bacteria, polysaccharides, and minerals that are absorbed from saliva. We have to brush it away to stop the bacteria from growing into colonies that release acids, which soften and erode our tooth enamel and cause decay.

If you want to avoid contaminated water, try brushing and rinsing your mouth with pre-bottled water. Spending an extra dollar for a certain supply of freshwater is better than going through your vacation with traveler’s diarrhea or an oral infection.

Waterborne Illnesses That Travelers Face

There are numerous types of illnesses that can occur in foreign countries from dirty water. Sanitation is lacking in South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Even in many parts of Israel, the water quality is lacking. In these countries, the water is untreated or minimally treated. It may have cholera before it is processed.

Even if it is processed to prevent the spread of cholera, this does not mean that it is free of the cholera bacteria. It takes an exposure of over a million such cholera bacteria to cause the illness. This means that you can still suffer from something less than cholera, such as an oral or sinus infection.

Cholera bacteria grow in water that is exposed to raw sewage or wells that are contaminated by animal and human waste. Even boiling dirty water is not without its faults because our bodies don’t know the difference between living and dead bacteria. As a result, we can still feel sick and fatigued when we are exposed to boiled and dead bacteria.

Uvulitis, sinus infections, sores in the mouth that never heal, chronic diarrhea, and sore throats are just a few of the common illnesses that sensitive travelers encounter. Everyone has a different bacterial gut composition that affects their resistance to foreign bacteria.

Although you may feel that exposure to the bacteria will build up your immunity, this isn’t necessarily the case. We are typically born with a certain digestive gut predisposition that isn’t easily altered to resist or incorporate other bacteria. Even the plates in some foreign countries can have enough bacteria on them after washing to transmit a bacterial infection to foreigners.

Improving Oral Health While Traveling

There are many cruise vacations to look into which stop at ports of cities that provide world-class medical and dental care. Here, you can find dentists who offer state-of-the-art treatments for far less than dentists charge in the United States. Taking a vacation to a nation that provides inexpensive world-class care can improve your oral health overnight.

One of the procedures to look into if you have large amalgam fillings is CAM-CAD restorations. CAM-CAD restorations use 3D imaging and state-of-the-art in-house CNC machines to restore the structural integrity of the tooth. These ceramic inlays are precisely cut to provide the perfect bite. They look and feel just like your natural teeth and won’t deteriorate or release mercury-like amalgam fillings.


Taking a vacation can impact your dental health in many significant ways. By staying safe and avoiding contaminated water while brushing, you will enjoy your vacations. If you choose to visit a foreign dentist, always pay with a major credit card for some level of quality assurance.

Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health and healthcare. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym. She loves hearing from her readers and can be contacted through her Facebook.

Paisley Hansen

Freelance Writer