The Ultimate Guide to Dental Care on a Sailing Trip
The Ultimate Guide to Dental Care on a Sailing Trip

Maintaining proper dental care while living on a boat can be a challenge, but neglecting it can lead to painful and expensive dental problems. This comprehensive guide provides essential tools, supplies, and best practices to keep your teeth and gums healthy while enjoying your sailing adventure.

The Ultimate Guide to Dental Care on a Sailing Trip

Sailing the open seas with your family is an incredible experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of those challenges is maintaining proper dental care while living on a boat. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about dental care at sea, from the essential tools and supplies to the best practices for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Table of Contents

Why Dental Care is Important at Sea

Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for overall health, and this is especially true when living on a boat. The combination of limited access to dental care, changes in diet, and exposure to the elements can all contribute to dental problems. Neglecting dental care can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss, which can be painful and expensive to treat.

Furthermore, dental issues can impact your enjoyment of your sailing adventure. Toothaches and other dental problems can be distracting and make it difficult to focus on sailing, navigating, and enjoying your time with your family. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can ensure that your sailing trip is as enjoyable and worry-free as possible.

Essential Dental Care Tools and Supplies

Before setting sail, it’s important to stock up on the necessary dental care tools and supplies. Here’s a list of the essentials you’ll need to maintain good dental hygiene while at sea:

  1. Toothbrushes: Each family member should have their own toothbrush, preferably with a cover to keep it clean. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are recommended, as they are gentle on the gums and can effectively remove plaque.

  2. Toothpaste: Choose a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. It’s a good idea to stock up on extra tubes, as you may not be able to find your preferred brand while traveling.

  3. Dental floss: Flossing is essential for removing plaque and food particles from between the teeth. Be sure to pack enough floss for the duration of your trip.

  4. Mouthwash: An alcohol-free mouthwash can help freshen breath and kill bacteria that cause gum disease. Look for a mouthwash that contains fluoride for added cavity protection.

  5. Interdental brushes: These small brushes are designed to clean between the teeth and can be especially helpful for those with braces or dental bridges.

  6. Tongue scraper: A tongue scraper can help remove bacteria and debris from the surface of the tongue, which can contribute to bad breath.

  7. Denture care supplies: If any family members wear dentures, be sure to pack denture cleanser tablets, a denture brush, and a denture case for safe storage.

  8. Emergency dental kit: In case of a dental emergency, it’s a good idea to have a basic dental kit on board. This should include temporary filling material, dental wax, a dental mirror, tweezers, and pain relief medication.

Daily Dental Care Routine

Establishing a daily dental care routine is crucial for maintaining good oral health while at sea. Here are some tips for keeping your teeth and gums in top shape:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day: Brush your teeth for at least two minutes in the morning and before bed. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces.

  2. Floss daily: Flossing is essential for removing plaque and food particles from between the teeth. Be gentle when flossing to avoid damaging the gums.

  3. Rinse with mouthwash: After brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash to help kill bacteria and freshen breath.

  4. Clean your tongue: Use a tongue scraper or your toothbrush to gently clean the surface of your tongue, which can harbor bacteria and contribute to bad breath.

  5. Replace your toothbrush regularly: Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.

Dealing with Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can happen at any time, and it’s important to be prepared for them while at sea. Here are some tips for handling common dental emergencies:

  1. Toothache: Rinse your mouth with warm salt water and take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. Avoid placing aspirin directly on the gums, as this can cause tissue damage. If the toothache persists, seek professional dental care as soon as possible.

  2. Broken or chipped tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the outside of the cheek to reduce swelling. Save any broken pieces of the tooth and seek dental care as soon as possible.

  3. Knocked-out tooth: If a permanent tooth is knocked out, try to reinsert it into the socket without touching the root. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a container of milk or saltwater and seek dental care immediately.

  4. Lost filling or crown: If a filling or crown comes loose, clean the area and apply temporary filling material or dental wax to protect the tooth. Seek dental care as soon as possible to have the filling or crown replaced.

Preventive Measures and Regular Checkups

Taking preventive measures can help reduce the risk of dental problems while at sea. Here are some tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy:

  1. Eat a balanced diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help promote good oral health. Limit sugary snacks and beverages, as these can contribute to tooth decay.

  2. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help prevent dry mouth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

  3. Avoid tobacco products: Smoking and using smokeless tobacco can increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.

  4. Wear a mouthguard: If you participate in water sports or other activities that could result in a dental injury, consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth.

  5. Schedule regular dental checkups: Before setting sail, schedule a dental checkup for each family member to address any existing dental issues and receive a professional cleaning. While traveling, try to schedule checkups whenever you’re in port and have access to dental care.

Dental Care for Children

Teaching your children good dental habits from a young age is essential for their long-term oral health. Here are some tips for maintaining your child’s dental health while at sea:

  1. Start early: Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.

  2. Supervise brushing: Until your child is able to brush their teeth independently, help them brush and floss to ensure proper technique.

  3. Limit sugary snacks and drinks: Encourage your child to choose healthy snacks and beverages, and limit their consumption of sugary treats.

  4. Schedule regular dental checkups: Just like adults, children should have regular dental checkups to address any dental issues and receive professional cleanings.


Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for enjoying your sailing adventure to the fullest. By stocking up on the necessary tools and supplies, establishing a daily dental care routine, and taking preventive measures, you can ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout your journey. Remember to schedule regular dental checkups for each family member and be prepared to handle dental emergencies should they arise. With proper dental care, you can focus on exploring the open seas and creating lasting memories with your family.