Maybe you’re out of spare toothbrushes. Or perhaps you got lost in the mountains. We don’t recommend any of these dental hygiene methods, but here is a handful of left of field ideas we’ve heard.
Using twigs for toothbrushes.
Long before the invention of the toothbrush, many cultures have been found to use chewed up sticks to clean their teeth. Some tree’s such as oak and maple contains compounds that can reduce gum disease and fight decay. Sucking and chewing on the end of twigs will soften the tree’s fibres creating something similar to a paintbrush. Indigenous Australians used something alike in some of their paintings. The same can be done with a matchstick.
Chewing on twigs from a Toothbrush Tree.
If you ever find yourself with no means of dental hygiene in the drier parts of Africa and the Middle East, don’t fret. There’s a plant native to these areas referred to as the Toothbrush Tree due to its natural effectiveness as keeping teeth clean when chewed on.
Eating an apples to clean your teeth and fresh your breath.
Apples are slightly acidic and astringent with a fibrous texture meaning they can clean off that furry feeling and freshen the breath. The downside is that they recoat your teeth with sugar, so you’d want to rinse thoroughly after.
Using your finger as a toothbrush.
Better than nothing. You don’t need much instruction here, just make sure it’s clean first.
Using sea salt as toothpaste.
Just dab your toothbrush in some salt and brush away. Try not to swallow too much. Remember there is no flouride so it can never be as good as toothpaste.
A length of thread or cotton for floss.
Out of dental floss? Try a bit of cotton from mum’s biscuit tin or the hem of your shirt.
A cloth soaked in alcohol to brush your teeth.
Soaking a cloth or toothpick in brandy or wine will stop certain bacteria sticking to your teeth. However, high levels of acid and sugar can also cause decay and discolouration. This is one we really don’t want you to ever do.
Feathers for a toothpick.
Run out of toothpicks? Try using the end of a feather. Feathers found in the wild should be washed and disinfected to avoid infection.
Use wood ash as toothpaste.
A paste made from water and wood ash can be used to clean teeth. Ensure to rinse thoroughly after brushing.
Tea to fight bacteria in the mouth.
Precise tannins released from plants and herbs contain natural antiseptics that can help fight bacteria in the mouth. Some common examples include black and green tea. Unfortunately those same tannins are what discolours and stains your teeth.
Nothing is a good substitute for a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.
Please don’t forget your toothbrush. We have come so far in the last century when it comes to daily dental hygiene.
Soft-bristled toothbrushes clean our teeth while protecting the gums. The fluoride in toothpaste helps your teeth harden to resist cavities when younger, and when older assists in remineralising the teeth to keep them hard. Dental floss, as well, has no substitute as an ordinary length of thread can tear gums and get caught between teeth.
Our patients who follow a good daily routine and never miss a checkup are the ones who keep their teeth for life.