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3 Ways to Leave No Trace while Brushing Your Teeth in the Outdoors

by Richard White II March 06, 2019

The natural beauty of our parks is exceptional. As avid outdoors people we love it so much that we try to get outdoors as often as possible. Are you an avid camper or hiker? If so, you are likely aware of the concept of “leave no trace”. Like many, you may try your best to leave no trace but aren’t sure how to do that when it comes to something you may have to do twice a day for a few days – brushing your teeth while camping. Is that even possible?

3 Ways to Leave No Trace When Brushing Your Teeth While Camping
Thankfully, you can take care of your oral hygiene and leaving no trace at the same time. Here are 3 ways to go about brushing your teeth while camping.

1. Don’t Use Toothpaste
Yes, you really can go without using toothpaste. The most important part of the brushing process is not the toothpaste; it’s the mechanical act of brushing the plaque off your teeth. Swish the toothbrush in some hot water to soften the bristles and then go about your brushing. You won’t get the minty fresh feeling, of course, but you’ll be doing what needs to be done to care for your teeth and gums.

2. Use Natural Alternatives
Some people like using baking soda or activated charcoal. Both are naturally abrasive, so you’ll get that nice squeaky-clean feeling. Plus, both have anti-bacterial and pH balancing properties. Another bonus is that they’re both light-weight – great for packing for a camping trip.

Some words of caution: the baking soda can cause tooth sensitivity due to its abrasiveness, so make sure you brush gently. You might even want to take a break from brushing with it every other day or so. As for the activated charcoal, it absorbs water and beneficial bacteria in the gut. It can also interfere with the absorption of medications. Therefore, you’ll want to drink extra water and wait 2-3 hours before taking any medication.

3. Swallow Your Toothpaste (Adults Only)
Your last option is to swallow your toothpaste. You may be worried about the fluoride content, but here are a couple of things to consider.

First of all, people typically use way too much toothpaste. They just love the minty freshness so much that they pile it onto their toothbrush, but really, only a pea-sized amount is needed. Rest assured, you will still get all of the benefits of the toothpaste.

Second, the amount of fluoride in over-the-counter toothpaste is minimal. Add to that the fact that you should be using even less toothpaste and the percentage of fluoride goes down even more.

Of course, you wouldn’t want to make a practice of swallowing your toothpaste on a daily basis. However, doing it for a few days on a camping trip shouldn’t be a problem.

Share your oral hygiene tips in the comments below.

Check out what else is included in the Youth Adventure Kit here.

Richard White II
Richard White II


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