How To Keep Your Toothbrush Clean While Traveling

Brushing our teeth is a major component of dental hygiene and keeping those pearly whites healthy for years to come. As such, keeping our toothbrushes clean is of the utmost importance, too. At home, we chuck our brushes in a cup and don't think much of it. However, when it comes to traveling with our toothbrushes, there are a few more considerations we have to make.

A traveler needs to choose what toothbrush to take, which bag to put it in, how to store it in their bag, and even decide what kind of toothpaste to take and the quality of the water they're using to brush. This can all sound like a bit much for just a simple toothbrush, but when it comes to your dental health, you really shouldn't pull any punches.

Everything we will talk about in this guide will help keep your toothbrush clean while traveling, but the main point you'll want to keep in mind is this: Keep your toothbrush as dry as possible when you're not using it.

Prevent bacteria build up when traveling

The best toothbrush tip we can give you when traveling is to keep the brush from staying moist for too long. Excess moisture on your toothbrush can encourage the growth of bad bacteria and could even make you sick. However, bacteria generally can't survive in dry environments and will die off once your toothbrush has had time to dry out.

When traveling, though, it can be difficult to keep your toothbrush dry, since you might be using it and then packing it up straight away before jetting off to your next destination. So, to prevent moisture from sticking around, give your brush time to dry out by leaving it in a dry, sunny spot for a bit.

If you don't have time to let it dry out, use a ventilated cap or toothbrush holder. These should typically be made of hard plastic so they're easy to clean and have a few openings in them to allow for airflow.

Store your toothbrush properly

Though you will have a plastic cap or holder for your toothbrush, you should also store it separately from your other toiletries when traveling. While the bristles will be covered, it's just more hygienic to keep the brushes or soaps you'll use on your face and body separate from items you'll use in your mouth.

Storing your toothbrush separately will also promote better airflow. It would sort of defeat the purpose if your toothbrush is buried under deodorant, face wipes, and body soaps. Further to this point, don't use a plastic baggie as a separate bag. Instead, use a mesh or fabric bag that will allow your brush to dry out.

Finally, if you're on the move and you don't have time to let your toothbrush air out, place your toothbrush bag at in a space in your carry-on, backpack, or purse where there's a bit of open space to allow for more airflow.

Bring a new toothbrush for your trip

Whether you're traveling for a week or a few months, you should always bring a couple toothbrushes with you that you don't use at home. This is convenient for a few reasons. First, you can use your home toothbrush right before you leave for your trip without having to worry about drying it out before hopping on your overseas flight.

Also, if you forget your toothbrush somewhere, it's not as big of a deal as losing your favorite fancy electric toothbrush. An extra toothbrush is also good to have as a backup, ensuring you'll have an extra one on hand if you forget your first one somewhere or a travel buddy loses theirs.

If the idea of buying a bunch of plastic toothbrushes just to throw them away at the end of your trip seems wasteful... yup, it is! So be sure to buy some biodegradable or recyclable brushes made of bamboo. Some sustainable toothbrush brands still use nylon bristles, so look for brands that indicate they use natural bristles that are biodegradable or at least recyclable.

Use clean drinking water when brushing

Before traveling anywhere, always do some research about whether or not you can drink the tap water there. If you do find in your research that people recommend not drinking the local tap water, don't think of this as just gulping down cups of the stuff. You could still potentially get sick using tap water to brush your teeth, too. So, use bottled or filtered water to wet your brush and rinse your mouth afterward. Is it annoying? Yes. But so is having an upset stomach when you're just trying to enjoy your vacation.

You might also want to consider bringing a bottle of water with you to brush your teeth in the airplane bathroom on a long-haul flight. While it might seem a little overboard, the water from the airplane sinks is definitely not meant to be consumed, so you shouldn't brush your teeth with it either. If you do it anyway, don't worry, we won't tell anyone.

Other ways to keep your teeth clean and healthy while traveling

Vacation is a time for fun, to let loose a little bit, and even to leave behind the responsibilities you are usually inundated with at home. However, plaque never sleeps, and it's definitely about to have its own party as you consume more sugar-laden cocktails and juices, indulge in desserts, and sneak some candy or chocolates here and there.

While you could curb your sugar intake, you're on vacation! Who wants to do that? Instead, just take extra care to brush each morning and night and floss at least once a day. If you've got a long day of travel ahead of you and you're not sure when you'll get the chance to do so, you could also use sugar-free gum to freshen up a bit.

Finally, if you want to avoid any concerns about whether or not you'll run out of toothpaste with your travel-sized tube, you could also try toothpaste tablets. These are dry, bite-sized tablets of toothpaste that you can pop in your mouth, crush between your teeth, and use as you would with normal toothpaste. Tablets are a great alternative to traditional toothpaste since they're lighter in weight, less messy, there's no limit on how many you can take since they're not considered a liquid, and they're typically packaged more sustainably without plastic.