At one time or another it happens to us all. You're on a camping trip, or an overnight stay with friends or family, and you forget your toothbrush. Since most of us have developed a routine of brushing at least morning and night, this circumstance can feel rather annoying. Often times you don't realize it until it's later in the evening, and at that point a trip to the store is pretty inconvenient. In some cases a trip to the store might not even be possible at that time. So what are you to do? Instead of giving up and doing nothing for the night, here are some tips on dental care without a toothbrush that will help until you can brush your teeth properl
Your first option when you find yourself without a proper toothbrush is to fashion your own. No we're not suggesting you get crafty and try to make your own handcrafted toothbrush. Your finger will do just fine. First you'll need to wash your hands as best as you can. If you have toothpaste but no brush, you'll still want to make use of the toothpaste. You can either use a clean paper towel wrapped around your finger or just the clean finger itself. Apply a little dab of toothpaste and use your finger like you would your toothbrush. Use gentle pressure as you rub the toothpaste on your teeth and gums, and avoid applying too much pressure just like you would with a brush. Make sure you get both the front and back of your teeth. Once finished don't forget to rinse with water. Repeat 2-3 times a day until you can brush your teeth properly.
In addition to using your finger like a brush, you'll want to make use of any cleaning items you have. This includes toothpaste as we mentioned earlier (you can always borrow someone's if you forgot yours, but don't borrow their brush). Floss and mouthwash can be valuable in cleaning your teeth as well, so don't forget to use them. Don't feel a need to overcompensate with the mouthwash and floss. Just use them regularly like you would in your day to day routine.
Water can help clean your teeth on its own as well. The water will wash away food particles and bacteria that is growing on your teeth. There's really no limit on how often you can do this, but realistically it will only be helpful after meals and before bed. Use a swishing motion while holding the water in your mouth and either spit or swallow when done. Avoid very cold water as it could be a little uncomfortable on your teeth. Don't forget to stay hydrated as it will stimulate saliva production and help fight bacteria in your mouth.
If you don't have toothpaste, floss, or mouthwash, then a simple wiping of your teeth and gums can help. Use a clean washcloth or paper towel and wet it with a little water. Wipe gently over your teeth and gums to help clean them. This is a great strategy for times where you've just eaten but won't have access to a brush until the following day.
Fibrous vegetables can act as a brush in their own way. As you eat them the act of biting can remove existing food particles and clean your teeth. You can even use vegetables like celery as a makeshift brush if you have them. Think of vegetables as a healthy dessert that will also clean your teeth after a meal. Stick to raw vegetables and eat them without dips or other accompaniments for this purpose.
By no means are we recommending you resort to any of these strategies long term. Nothing cleans your teeth and contributes to your overall dental health like a toothbrush. These are more last minute suggestions you can use when you have no other option. Once you get access to a toothbrush, it's best to brush your teeth immediately. If you've forgotten your brush during travel, you'll want to purchase a replacement as soon as you can. Yet in a pinch, these strategies are better than no cleaning options at all!