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Brushing Up On Dental Health Abroad

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The goal of Healthy Travel Blog is to help you stay healthy while gallivanting around the world; to take smart precautions and do proper travel preparation to avoid both the worry that something will go wrong and to make things easier if something does go wrong. But, inevitably, bones will break and muscles will get strained, and we hope that we’re providing you smart guidance on how to navigate these occurrences.

But what about that toothache that crops up in Madrid? Or when you wake up groggy with a missing tooth? Or the fact that you’re on a semester abroad and just need your teeth cleaned?

Well, unfortunately, there really aren’t very many resources for you to access in a pinch. Obviously, you should be sure that your travel health insurance plan provides dental insurance. And, as always, we (shamelessly) direct you to mPassport, which helps you connect with qualified doctors and dentists all over the world. You should also check out our destination-specific apps in the iTunes store.

And if a dental emergency erupts and you have to find a dentist on your own ask at the hospital emergency room or call a local dental society. They should be able to steer you in a reputable direction.

If you’re somewhere for an extended stay and would like non-emergency dental care, ask a colleague (ideally one who has nice teeth). Please don’t ask the concierge – it’s one thing to get a bad restaurant tip, but it’s another to get a bad tip on healthcare. It might work out just fine, but you should have a more rigorous selection process for something involving the health of your teeth.

Regardless, don’t forget your dental health when you’re traveling. Brush frequently. It may even be good for your brain.

And then there is dental tourism. As with medical tourism, this fledgling “industry” revolves around people traveling abroad for cheap dental care, perhaps because they don’t have adequate care insurance here in the States. Is it safe and will you be happy with the results? We maintain it’s a roll of the dice.

Photo by Tracy Hunter.

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Linda Barbara

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