Summer is the season of adventure. And nothing says summer adventure like camping and roughing it in the woods. But just because you’ve chosen to rough it, doesn’t mean you have to be rough on your teeth and the environment. Not brushing your teeth is not an option, but there are still ways to maintain a proper teeth cleaning routine out in the woods without affecting the surrounding environment.
For this article, we're going to assume you've chosen to go tent camping and have no access to electricity or any of the amenities offered by modern RVs and camping trailers. Continue reading to check out the environmentally and teeth friendly teeth tips and tricks our team finds most helpful when out in the wilderness.
Bring clean water
Everyone knows the first rule of camping is: don’t drink the water. No matter where you are, you have no way of knowing if the water is contaminated or clean and put yourself at risk if you choose to drink the water before testing or cleaning it.
If you’ve chosen a family campground as your destination, consider bringing a case of water with you for drinking, but as well as brushing your teeth. One bottle should last most individuals two days or so and is a great way to guarantee you have clean water to consume. You may also choose to bring a metal pot from your kitchen and boil your water over the campfire to sterilize it.
And if you’ve chosen backcountry camping, look to purchase a water testing kit before departing on your trip. These help you determine whether water is safe to drink or not and can save you from some unpleasant illnesses. If you choose to carry a metal pot with you, you can also boil water to ensure it is sterilized and safe for consumption.
Forget the toothpaste or use a natural alternative
Believe it or not, the most important part of brushing your teeth is the brushing and not necessarily the toothpaste. Brushing your teeth removes the plaque from your teeth, while the toothpaste further protects your teeth and leaves you with that minty-fresh feeling. This is why we suggest leaving the toothpaste at home. It’s one less thing to attract animals to your campsite (animals love mint) and it can also be harmful to animals and the environment (more on that later). All you need is your toothbrush and some clean water and you can achieve a clean smile in the woods.
Swallow your toothpaste or take it with you
Avid campers and outdoor survival groups have a saying, “Leave no trace” and we very much agree with them. When camping, you’re there to enjoy nature and not destroy it. So, if you do choose to use toothpaste to brush your teeth in the woods, consider swallowing it (adults only). It’s a known fact that the fluoride in toothpaste can be harmful to our bodies, but it’s only if you consume it on a regular basis. Swallowing your toothpaste after brushing for a day or two isn’t going to harm your body and helps protect animals and the environment from consuming the toothpaste.
And if you prefer not to swallow your toothpaste, take it with you when you go by spitting into a sealable bag or a garbage bag. This way, you can dispose of it in a trash can or dumpster away from the plants and animals.
Spray don’t spit
Another way to protect the animals and environment without jeopardizing your healthy smile is to spray your toothpaste instead of spitting it out. When you spit your toothpaste out, it comes out in large amounts which can then be consumed by animals. When you spray your toothpaste, however, you leave almost zero trace and eliminate the risk of an animal finding it and eating it.
This is also a great way to make sure your minty toothpaste doesn’t attract unwanted guests (animals) to your campsite.
Replace your toothbrush
This is less of a camping tip and more of a tip for when you return home. Your toothbrush may very well be fine after a camping trip, but to be safe, we recommend replacing it with a new one just in case the old one is contaminated with bacteria, dirt or anything else. You can also leave your primary toothbrush at home and pack a separate one for your trip.
The point of camping is to enjoy nature without destroying it and we feel with these tips we all can minimize the effect our brushing routines have on the environment. If you have any questions about brushing your teeth while camping or would like clarification on anything talked about above, reach out to us by phone or email and we would be happy to help you. You can also choose to stop in to our Guelph office and speak to one of our talented team members in person.