SHTF Dental Care: These Are the Supplies You Need To Survive a Post-Collapse Dental Emergency

As far as preppers are concerned, the majority of you guys and gals have already probably stored up about a half a pallet of toothbrushes and toothpaste for shtf dental emergencies.  Yes?  No?  Well, in any event we’re going to cover some field-expedient methods to clean up the teeth.  The reason for this is that it’s hard enough in a normal environment to keep those teeth cleaned and healthy.  In a grid down collapse, there will be no dentist and there are going to be a lot of problems that will affect the teeth and gums, so the more you know about oral hygiene now, the better.

Firstly, it is in your best interest to pick up the reference guide entitled, Where There is No Dentist,” by Murray Dickson.  It will be money well-spent, as it covers all of the different procedures to follow for abscesses, tooth extraction, and other “niceties” of oral care when you will not find a dentist, as the title suggests.  A manual such as this is just what your preparedness library needs.

Alternatives to Toothpaste

That being mentioned, what about things such as toothpaste and floss?  Well, many of your aromatic mints can be crushed up and used as toothpaste, such as spearmint and peppermint.  Follow this up with baking soda, and you’ll find a good clean set of teeth after brushing.  Charcoal powder is also an excellent dental cleanser, as well, a strong salt water solution will also be of use.  Cloves, in particular are good for swollen or abscessed gums, and clove oil itself can be used as a topical analgesic with excellent results and can easily be made.


To Make Clove Oil: Dried cloves can also be chopped up to be placed in a jar with 50% ethyl alcohol.  Make sure you cover over the pile of chopped cloves by about ¼ inch.  Tightly close the jar, and shake it vigorously several hundred times a day, once in the morning and once at night.


Keep the clove mixture in a cool, dark place, and after two weeks, you’ll have your solution.  Cloves contain eugenol, which is both an anesthetic and an antimicrobial.  Don’t drink it.  Use it as an oral rinse: a more effective one than most supermarket-brand mouthwashes.  It can also help to prevent and to aid with swollen gums.

Keep this rule in mind: The main causes for tooth problems are poor nutrition and then poor hygiene. 

This does pose a problem, and there are certain foods that can do a number on your teeth. This will be a challenge for you to be able to find not just food, but healthy and nutritious food after a collapse.  Vitamin C is necessary to prevent scurvy, a disease of the gums that eventually leads to tooth loss if unchecked.  Protein deficiencies are also a big problem that can cause teeth to loosen and gums to rot.  Clean water is very important, not just for the care of the teeth, but also to prevent any microorganisms from entering an already unhealthy oral cavity post SHTF.  Boil the water for at least 3 to 5 minutes after you have strained and filtered it in every way that you can.

How to Make Your Own Toothbrushes and Floss

Toothbrushes can be fashioned out of sticks with the diameter of a pencil.  Notch the ends and then hammer the end, spreading out the wood and softening it somewhat.  With these you’ll have to be a little more careful, as there not your “Oral-B” store-bought toothbrushes.  Floss can be made from cotton or nylon thread that you can wax beforehand to strengthen it somewhat.  Just take the start of your thread and press your thumb on top of it, crushing/pressing it into the wax, and then just pull the thread through.  Do this several times to give it a light wax coating that smooths out the thread through the teeth and strengthens the fibers.

Above all else, make sure you have some post-collapse dental supplies. Anything that you can pick up before the disaster is a plus, and you may wish to practice with several of these techniques to find out which are the best for you personally.  The reason is that everyone’s mouth is different, and genetically many are predisposed to having either teeth without a long lifespan or other problems.  As well, have an understanding of how to mitigate dental pain should something arise in a disaster. Prior to taking any actions here, consult with your friendly, certified, government-approved dentist for his or her friendly approval.  Take care of those teeth, and stock up on stuff you need…before the SHTF.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition