If you have been without brushing teeth for a day for any reason, you know that it can be awfully uncomfortable. But discomfort is not your number one worry when it comes to oral care. Developing cavities or gum disease is bad and even worse the complications that come with the spread of bacteria from gum disease to other body organs.
Will a few days come with such extreme complications if you keep off brushing teeth while camping? They may not. But why take chances? There is a reason your dentist sings that chorus about brushing your teeth twice a day. The thought of compromising your smile or having to worry about bad breath during your camping days is enough reason to heed your doctor’s advice.
So how do you ensure that your oral health does not go unattended or your smile ruined during your camping days? This article is your ultimate guide to brushing teeth while camping.
1. Pack your basic tooth brushing paraphernalia for the woods
When you pack for camping, your tooth brushing kit may be easily forgotten. List it among the ‘to do prior departure’ items if you have to.
You may want to bring along the toothbrush you are using at home, especially if you are camping for 2 or 3 days. If your camping extends for a week or more, purchase a toothbrush you can easily pack. One with a plastic case which serves both as a holder and a handle will be opportune.
Before your departure day, toothpaste may be dried in small amounts as needed for each time you brush. This makes it easy to carry. Nonetheless, drying the paste may not be required since the toothpaste tube is usually safe and well-sealed for packing. When considering the type of toothpaste, stay away from those with strong flavors. It is said that the mint flavor may attract ants, bears, and raccoons.
Your brush and toothpaste should be packed in an airtight container.
2. Include your dental floss and mouth rinse
Flossing can be a tedious routine especially if you have to do it in the woods where the comfort of your sink is lacking. But there is a compelling reason you should bring along a portable water flosser when you go camping: dental flossing removes plaque from your teeth and unattended plaque hardens and turns into tartar within 48 hours. Only your dentist can rid your teeth of hardened plaque. Consider a rechargeable water flosser when you go camping.
Your mouth rinse will still serve its purpose of killing plaque-causing germs and preventing oral infections and cavities while you are camping in the woods. As with the toothpaste, strong-flavored mouth wash should be avoided during camping. If you opt for a flavored mouth rinse store it in airtight containers to seal of the flavor from attracting animals.
Consider your mouth wash a must-bring if you have dentures or are wearing braces and other teeth aligners.
3. Store your tooth brushing kit away from ants and animals
As alluded to earlier, ants and other animals may party crash at your campsite in search of flavored toothpaste. To avoid ruining your fun, store your toothpaste and mouth rinse in the car away from your tent.
If you don’t have the service of a car for storage and need to keep your items in the tent, packing them in more than one airtight containers gives you double security from the unwelcome visitors.
4. Go the entire routine
If your teeth are used to the entire treat, missing one step may be the basis for bacterial build up. It is, therefore, crucial to brush your teeth, do the flossing, and use the mouth rinse.
While the mouth rinse will be your last step, brushing or using the floss may be done in alternate order. As your dentist says, “the most important thing is that you do it.”
5. Perform your oral routine away from the tent and natural water sources
To keep off the ants and other animals from the camping site, walk away 100 yards from your tent when brushing teeth. This is also a hygiene detail for the camping crew. You do not want to be stepping or staring at toothpaste every move you make. Water from dental flossing should also be collected in a bucket and disposed away of the campsite.
Both the water from the floss and the spit from brushing should be spread in a wide area to minimize the chances of poisoning animals or damaging plants. Disposal should also be done at least 200 yards from any natural water sources.
6. Leave no trace if you are an environmentalist
Presuming that your love for the environment does not compromise the importance of taking good care of your teeth, we also suppose that your oral care kit will make part of your backpack. Nonetheless, the contents of the set and the procedures may be unique. Here are some considerations for brushing teeth while camping for environmental eco-worriers.
Use baking soda in place of toothpaste. This conserves the environment from the chemicals used in the dentifrice.
If your camping lasts a night or two, you may consider brushing without paste.
If you can stand it, use a minimal amount of toothpaste and send it down your throat after brushing. Be sure to drink lots of water to neutralize it.
Spit into a tight-capped container when you brush and empty the contents down the sink on your return home. This may work for one or two days but may become cumbersome if you are camping for more than 2 days.
The Bottom Line
Brushing teeth while camping is crucial and every camper should bring along their complete oral health kit and routinely perform the entire teeth cleaning process. Dental health equipment should be packaged in a way that the flavors do not invite unwelcome guests. And if you are an environmentalist, you may consider brushing your teeth in the ‘leave no trace’ style.