Oral hygiene is of upmost importance, and we’re familiarized with the toothbrush and toothpaste from an early age. Keeping your teeth clean on a daily basis is vital for preserving oral hygiene. But despite the rigors and norms of the modern consumerist society we live in, there are many other ways of keeping your teeth clan and healthy. And they work best in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, when the products we’re used to won’t just be available anymore. You’ll need to improvise, but luckily there are many substitutes for the traditional methods and products. And despite what many people believe, teeth aren’t made of glass. Cleaning them with something else other than toothpaste won’t damage them in any way. There are plenty of raw foods that known to have a cleaning effect on the teeth (apples, pears, carrots); provided they are hard enough (soft and ripe won’t do), they’ll do wonders for your teeth and gums, preventing even gingivitis and canker sores. Here are some of the best replacements for modern teeth cleaning methods.
Baking soda is probably the most famous alternative when it comes to cleaning the teeth. The baking soda’s natural properties lets it neutralize acids that are harmful for the enamel, kills off bacteria that is responsible for plaque build-up and as far as aesthetics go, it’s an excellent stain remover. It’s used dates as far back as antiquity, as even Hippocrates himself had a mouthwash recipe based on baking soda, vinegar and alum. Alongside baking soda, there are many oils you can throw into the mix for added beneficial effects: cinnamon oil (has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties), peppermint oil (has antibacterial effect, it freshens the breath and it clears up the sinuses), clove oil (fights off bacteria and has painkilling properties) etc. These oils work in more ways than one. If you have swollen gums, you can dip a piece of clean cloth of gauze in any of these and a place over the affected area; for best results, let the gum-pack sit overnight.
Salt is the ingredient that no serious prepper should go without. And believe it or not, it even serves a purpose in the field of oral hygiene. Salt brushing can be used even today, in moderation of course; salt can whiten and brighten one’s teeth. It has mild cleaning properties and it can be used daily; you can also make a salt based mouthwash that you can use for disinfection purposes, against bad breath, tartar, plaque and even boost the healing process. Salt can be used raw or mixed with baking soda (30% salt, 70% baking soda); you can even add sage to the mix, if you happen to have some at your disposal. Mouth wash is even easier to make; just add salt to potable water and there you have it.
OXYGENTATED WATER (HYDROGEN PEROXIDE 3%)
The product has been proven to be very effective against gingivitis, canker sores and harmful bacteria. It should be diluted with water before usage, because it’s a bit to abrasive on the teeth. Just mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide 3% and you get a very affective mouth wash. However, you should never swallow the mixture. Before brushing your teeth, swish it around in your mouth and spit it out, but don’t keep it in for longer than 20 seconds. After you’re done, you can wash the toothbrush with the oxygenated water-based concoction, to destroy residual bacteria.
PRIMITIVE TOOTHBRUSHES (aka. CHEW STICKS)
Chewing on sticks and branches is a primitive teeth-cleaning method, that’s still used today among tribal societies. It might seem a bit rough, but it works. The method consists in chewing down on little twigs and branches and splitting them into several small brands. When you’re done chewing and the twig gets spread enough, you can used it to clean your teeth similar to a toothbrush. Some plants are more efficient than others, thanks to their healing properties. Some of the best and most spread DIY toothbrushes can be made out of oak, juniper, eucalyptus and the neem tree. Their rich in tannins that are extremely helpful in cleansing and curing gum-related afflictions and oils that stimulate blood flow.
There you have it, some of the best methods to help you keep your oral hygiene even in the toughest conditions imaginable. When your toothpaste and mouthwash reserves run low, you’ll need to consider replacing them and fast. No matter how bad things get, overlooking oral hygiene is not an option.
By Alec Deacon