Sailing and Tooth Loss: How to Prevent and Treat It
Sailing and Tooth Loss: How to Prevent and Treat It

Maintaining proper dental care while sailing is crucial for avoiding tooth loss and dental emergencies at sea. This blog post provides practical tips for sailors to keep their teeth and gums healthy while embarking on an adventure.

Sailing and Tooth Loss: How to Prevent and Treat It

Sailing the open seas with your family is an incredible adventure, but it also comes with its own unique set of challenges. One of those challenges is maintaining proper dental care while living on a boat. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of dental care at sea, how to prevent tooth loss, and what to do if you or a family member experiences a dental emergency while sailing.

The Importance of Dental Care at Sea

Dental care is important for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for sailors. Living on a boat can make it more difficult to access dental care, and the salty environment can take a toll on your teeth and gums. Additionally, dental emergencies can be particularly challenging to deal with when you’re far from shore and professional help.

Maintaining good dental hygiene and taking preventative measures can help you avoid tooth loss and other dental issues while sailing. In this section, we’ll discuss some tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy at sea.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Just like on land, it’s essential to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily while sailing. This helps remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Be sure to pack a sufficient supply of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss for your journey.

Use a Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Using a fluoride toothpaste can help protect your teeth from decay, especially when access to dental care is limited.

Rinse with Fresh Water

After brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth with fresh water to remove any remaining toothpaste or debris. Saltwater can be harsh on your teeth and gums, so it’s important to rinse with fresh water whenever possible.

Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks

Consuming too many sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay. Try to limit your intake of sweets and opt for healthier snacks like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Be mindful of the sugar content in beverages like soda, juice, and sports drinks, and choose water whenever possible.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential for overall health, and it’s also important for maintaining good oral health. Staying hydrated helps prevent dry mouth, which can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Make sure you have an adequate supply of fresh drinking water on board and drink regularly throughout the day.

Preventing Tooth Loss at Sea

Tooth loss can be a serious issue for sailors, as it can be difficult to access dental care while at sea. Taking steps to prevent tooth loss is crucial for maintaining your oral health and avoiding potential complications. Here are some tips for preventing tooth loss while sailing:

Regular Dental Checkups

Before setting sail, make sure you and your family members have had a recent dental checkup. Regular dental exams and cleanings can help identify and treat potential issues before they become more serious. If you’re planning an extended sailing trip, consider scheduling a checkup shortly before departure to ensure your teeth and gums are in good shape.

Protect Your Teeth from Injury

Sailing can be a physically demanding activity, and accidents can happen. To protect your teeth from injury, consider wearing a mouthguard during activities that pose a risk of dental trauma, such as water sports or rough weather conditions. A custom-fitted mouthguard from your dentist can provide the best protection, but over-the-counter options are also available.

Be Mindful of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can cause tooth damage and increase your risk of tooth loss. If you’re prone to grinding your teeth, especially during times of stress, talk to your dentist about strategies for managing this habit. They may recommend a night guard or other treatments to help protect your teeth.

Treating Tooth Loss and Dental Emergencies at Sea

Despite your best efforts to prevent tooth loss and maintain good dental hygiene, accidents and emergencies can still happen. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency at sea can help minimize pain and complications until you can access professional care. Here are some tips for dealing with common dental emergencies:


A toothache can be caused by a variety of issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, or an abscess. If you’re experiencing a toothache at sea, try rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Avoid hot or cold foods and drinks, as they may worsen the pain. If the toothache persists or worsens, seek professional dental care as soon as possible.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

If you or a family member chips or breaks a tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek to reduce swelling. Save any pieces of the tooth that you can find, and store them in a container with a little water or milk. Seek dental care as soon as possible to assess the damage and determine the best course of treatment.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If a tooth is knocked out, it’s important to act quickly to increase the chances of saving the tooth. Pick up the tooth by the crown (the part that’s visible in the mouth), and avoid touching the root. Gently rinse the tooth with water, but do not scrub or remove any attached tissue. If possible, try to reinsert the tooth into the socket, holding it in place with a clean cloth or gauze. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, store it in a container with milk or a saline solution. Seek emergency dental care as soon as possible, as time is critical for the success of reimplantation.

Lost Filling or Crown

If a filling or crown comes loose, save the restoration and keep it clean. If you’re experiencing pain, you can apply a small amount of over-the-counter dental cement or toothache relief gel to the affected area. Do not use super glue or other household adhesives to try to reattach the restoration, as this can cause further damage. Seek professional dental care as soon as possible to have the restoration properly reattached or replaced.


Sailing with your family is an incredible experience, but it’s important to prioritize dental care while at sea. By maintaining good oral hygiene, taking preventative measures, and knowing how to handle dental emergencies, you can help protect your teeth and gums and ensure a healthy, happy journey.