Have you heard yourself say, "Ehh, I'll just skip brushing my teeth tonight. I'm too tired and I feel so dirty anyway...what's skipping one night gonna do?"
Ha! I've said that a hundred times! (Ok, I exaggerate.)
Even if you might be feeling dirty from a good ole day's hike, I believe dental hygiene (hygiene in general) is important in keeping up your mental game. I really think it's the little things that extend mental longevity in the wilderness. Anyway, I love feeling clean at the end of a physically demanding day. (Who doesn't like that feeling of stepping out of the shower after getting filthy?) It's wonderful! But more importantly, being clean helps me sleep better and feel refreshed at the start of a new day. It's not just about being OCD with cleanliness, it's really about having a long-term strategy to help me keep going so I can stay out longer in the wilderness.
All that to say, one piece of floss and some easy teeth brushing skills can help your mental game, not to mention your breath.
1. Floss your teeth.
If anything, flossing is the least you can do. It's SO good for your dental hygiene!
2. Dab just a tiny bit of natural toothpaste on your kid-size toothbrush.
You don't need a lot of toothpaste. It suds too much and it gets messy if you use a lot. Instead, try just a dash just to get that minty fresh feeling without frothing all over (which means more clean-up).
TIP: Baking soda is also a great natural option!
3. Add a tiny splash of water and brush like normal.
I have my water bottle with me (with potable water) and I put the tiniest bit of water in my mouth before I start brushing. (This is my equivalent to getting my toothbrush/paste wet under the faucet when I'm at home.) Then I brush brush brush. I have a small toothbrush, so it takes a little more effort.
4. Add a little more water in my mouth, swish, and spit.
Spit into a cathole or have you ever tried the spitting method where you create a really fine mist? (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I really need to make a video!)
5. Final rinse.
One more mouth rinse and toothbrush rinse and voila! Minty fresh....Ahhhhhh! Time for bed.