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Happy Camping!

Last weekend my grandkids sent me some pics of their camping trip to Silent Lake. They went with 2 other families---dad’s only—for a Father’s Day weekend away. They had a blast!!

Of course, being their grandmother/dental hygienist I asked if they brushed their teeth while in the wilderness for 3 days. They got a little sheepish so I suspect their oral hygiene care was at the bottom of their “fun things to do while camping” list.😊---if on there at all.

None the less, I decided to rain on their parade---- and told them just because you’re roughing it outdoors doesn’t mean your teeth should do the same!


So here is how you can keep your mouth healthy and your breath pleasant even when deep in the woods with these 10 useful tips:


Before you leave:

1. Make sure everyone packs their own toothbrush. Sharing toothbrushes is never a good idea. Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from a mouth with cavities to a healthy mouth whether you’re camping or not.

2. If available, bring battery-powered electric toothbrushes to maintain good brushing habits no matter where you are. Remember to charge them before you start your trip.

3. A wet toothbrush makes an ideal home for bacteria growth. Make sure your toothbrushes are dry before packing them. Then, make sure you have a cool, dry place to keep them until it’s time to brush again!


At the campsite:

4. Brushing with bottled water morning and night is a healthy way to keep plaque at bay if clean water isn’t available in the outdoors.

5. Are you bringing kids along? Remind them when it’s time to brush and floss. Going on vacation or a camping trip is so much fun, but it can disrupt the home routine. Help them keep healthy dental habits even when away!

6. Snacking on trail mix along the way? Raisins can be quite sticky, and the sugar can also damage your teeth. Always have a water bottle at your side to stay hydrated and rinse the mouth after eating and between brushes. This will help keep your mouth lubricated and flush out any trapped food particles.

7. Bring sugar-free gum! Gum can help freshen your breath and reduce bacteria in your mouth between brushing. DON’T spit gum on the ground, of course, as this is harmful to nature.

8. Emergencies can happen anywhere, and so can dental emergencies. Pack up an emergency dental kit with cotton, tweezers, toothache drops or pain reliever, and sterile gauze pads.


Always respect nature:

9. Don’t leave used floss or globs of toothpaste at the campground, as they can make the animals sick if they eat it. Brush at the far edge of camp and spray the spit instead to spread it out. This will help minimize the environmental impact.


10. Don’t tempt wild animals. Did you know that bears are attracted to mint? Avoid surprise visitors to your campsite by packing everyone’s toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash in individual resealable plastic bags and keeping them tightly wrapped when not in use


Little FYI….Campfire Antiseptic rinse:

In the absence of mouthwash, you can create a simple antiseptic rinse using natural ingredients available at your campsite. Mix warm water with a few drops of tea tree oil or diluted hydrogen peroxide, swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds, and spit it out. This rinse can help control bacterial growth and leave your mouth feeling refreshed.


Other Oral Hygiene Supplies:

There are a variety of oral hygiene products on the market that target environmentally conscious consumers, but it’s hard to get a sense of what the products actually do. Since many of them haven’t been evaluated by the FDA or the ADA/CDA it can be hard to find verifiable information about them online.


As long as you avoid over-using oral hygiene supplies, limit the amount of toothpaste (and other supplies) you leave in the wild, and pick a travel brush that won’t turn green by the second day, you’re in safe territory. If you’re trying to be environmentally friendly, picking a toothpaste that is safe to swallow will probably get you further than choosing a toothbrush that claims to be biodegradable.

Happy Camping this summer!


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