Hurray for the annual summer holiday! At this time of year, dental patients may have concerns about having dental treatment before setting off on vacation.

Some of the more frequently asked questions include; Can I fly the day after getting a filling? Why do I get a cold sore every summer holiday? Is it ok to I leave my electric toothbrush at home?

© Jyothi | Dreamstime Stock Photos

There is no contraindication to flying after routine dental work such as fillings, crowns etc but our dentists advise at least a day or two of rest immediately after surgical procedures such as an extraction. ‘If you undergo surgery you probably won’t feel up to travelling, as you may feel physically tired or drained,’ Dr Helen Walsh says. ‘It’s best to avoid surgery if possible before a long haul flight where jet lag may come into play as well.’

Following implant surgery, Dr Nick Beirne strongly advises waiting at least 48 hours before flying. ‘You need time to rest and recover before placing yourself in a highly air-conditioned cabin,’ he says. ‘With implants, the sinuses can also be involved so It’s best to avoid the high pressure atmosphere for a while after this surgery.’


Remember to include your lips when lathering on the sun lotion. They do not produce protective melanin so need sunscreen too. In warmer climes a lip balm in a high factor such as SPF50 is best, but the Irish Cancer Society recommends in their sun smart code an absolute minimum of SPF15 for adults and SPF30+ for children. Use a water resistant balm, such as zinc oxide, when in the sea or pool and reapply regularly.

sunscreening lipsticks can come in pretty shades

Avoid shiny lip balms and lipsticks with no or low SPF when in the sun. They may lead to burning by allowing the sun’s rays to reach deeper into the skin. Serious or repeated sun damage can result in lip cancer.

Ladies- no need to fear a white or waxy residue. Sunscreen lipsticks, including zinc oxide balms, are now available in a range of pretty shades and often contain added moisturising or nutritive ingredients! Just be sure to go for a high SPF and check that the product has both UVB and UVA filters. 

cold sore
Herpes(PHIL 1573)


UV light from the sun can trigger cold sores in some sufferers. Reduce the risk of a break out by applying SPF50 lip balm and wearing a hat with a brim wide enough to shade your mouth. If you suffer from cold sores, be prepared and pack your usual medicated treatment, e.g. Zovirax, in case of a flare-up.

© Teodor Ostojic | Dreamstime Stock Photos


When on holidays, why take a break from the oral hygiene regime laid out for you by your hygienist? ‘Bring whatever interdental aids (e.g. Tepe brushes, floss picks etc) that have been recommended for you,’ says Joann Marshall, one of our Dental Hygienists at Portobello Dental Clinic. ‘Charge up your electric toothbrush, and bring it and your charger with you if you use one,’ she adds. Many countries use two-pin sockets suitable to an electric toothbrush so you may be able to leave your adaptor at home.


If you are planning on enjoying the local red wines or visiting vineyards you may experience red wine staining in the mouth.  ‘Red wine will stain some people’s teeth, but not everyone’s,’ explains Joann. ‘The only way to avoid it is not to drink red wine, but using a straw can slow down staining and keep it more to the back of the teeth.’

Be wary of internet myths about how to deal with ‘‘purple mouth’’ caused by red wine staining. Some improvised methods are very acidic and can be harmful to teeth.  ‘Seeing your dental hygienist after the holiday is the only treatment for it,’ advises Joann.

She also recommends using a straw if drinking those tempting, but acidic, fruity cocktails and juices and sugary sodas, not only on holidays but all year round.

So are you all packed and ready to go?

Passport? Check. Beach towel? Check. Tooth and mouth care? No problem!


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