Festival season is upon us and that means four days in a tent with lots of great music – and not a lot of oral care. Brushing your teeth is probably pretty low down on your list of priorities if you’ve been waiting all year to attend your favourite festival. However, keeping up your oral care routine while camping out in a field (or attending a city festival) will ensure that you don’t come home with dental problems that could seriously affect your teeth in the future.
Festivals and oral care
A study carried out by the Oral Health Foundation and Polo® Sugar Free found that 10% of festivalgoers can go through the entire duration of the festival without brushing their teeth at all. From forgotten toothbrushes to hangovers and not having access to running water, there are lots of reasons why many people forget to carry out essential oral hygiene while enjoying the festival experience. The same survey also found that 38% of festivalgoers will only brush their teeth once (or less) each day. Given that festival food tends to be more acidic and sugary than we might normally eat – and there could be more alcohol involved – it’s actually even more important to brush your teeth at a festival. Especially so if you don’t want to put off any new friends you make by having bad breath.
Tips for oral care at festivals
- Make sure you stay hydrated. When your body is hydrated your mouth produces plenty of saliva, which is essential for keeping your teeth healthy. Saliva will sweep away the bacteria that could start to cause decay and will help to avoid halitosis. If you’re dehydrated with a dry mouth then your teeth – and your energy levels – will suffer.
- Don’t be clever with bottles. The number of people who return from festivals with broken or chipped teeth from trying to open beer or cider bottles is high. Be smart and take a bottle opener instead.
- Take your toothbrush. It won’t be the first packing item that you think of but make sure you actually pack a toothbrush and your toothpaste for the festival so that you have the essentials that you need to hand. If you want to reduce the amount of space these take up then look for a travel toothbrush – just make sure you take enough toothpaste for the entire event. Make sure you also keep it separate in a plastic bag such as a sandwich bag so it reduces the risk of brushing up close to mud and gaining bacteria your toothbrush shouldn’t have on it.
- Watch your diet. Fried foods, acidic drinks and lots of sugar will play havoc with your teeth – and will probably make you feel pretty lethargic and tired too. If you want to get the most from your festival experience and also protect your teeth then limit the volume of sugar and unhealthy food that you consume. Have a few salads, keep sugar consumption low and give your body the fuel it needs to keep dancing.
- Take some sugar free gum. If you regularly chew sugar free gum while you’re at a festival then your mouth will produce more saliva. Saliva helps to keep your teeth clean and the gum will also help to ensure that you always have fresh breath.
- Pack an antibacterial mouthwash. As your mouth and teeth are likely to be under even more strain than usual with the sugary food and a bit more alcohol than you’d normally have, an antibacterial mouthwash could be a great idea. Use it after brushing and swish it around your mouth after some water when you’ve consumed something that is particularly acidic or sugary (e.g. hot donuts, cider or sweets).
- Take some floss. No, it’s not particularly sexy festival attire but floss can be incredibly useful if you get some festival pulled pork or falafel stuck in your teeth and a toothbrush just won’t shift it.
When you’re enjoying yourself this summer make sure it doesn’t come at the cost of your teeth and keep up your oral care routine whenever you’re at a festival.