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A woman brushing her teeth. A woman brushing her teeth. 

A Guide to Brushing Teeth Without a Toothbrush

By: BeSeen Team

Date: June 16, 2023

Oops! Did you accidentally discard your toothbrush in the garbage bin? And did you search your supplies closet but couldn’t find a replacement? No need to panic! If you find yourself in a bind, you can turn to several convenient alternatives right at your fingertips. Here’s your guide to brushing your teeth without a toothbrush.

Can You Brush Without a Toothbrush? 

A person holds a miswak, a traditional teeth-cleaning twig.
Keep it natural with a teeth-cleaning twig called miswak.

Knowing how to properly brush your teeth without a toothbrush is an essential life skill! Check out these smart swaps you can turn to whenever the need arises. Most of these options are staples you can easily find in your home. 

Use a twig. 

Twigs are always a reliable option. In some Arabian regions, African countries, and Central Asian areas, locals use an herbal chewing stick called miswak to clean their teeth. According to studies, its use can lead to “a significant reduction of dental plaque and gingivitis along with comparable or superior oral hygiene effect”. Additional research suggests the efficacy of this wooden brush on patients wearing metal braces 

To replicate the tool: 

  1. Shave the end of a bendable twig to reveal fibres. 
  2. Soak your makeshift brush in fresh water for eight hours to soften the bristles. 
  3. Use the stick like a toothbrush.  

Chew sugarless gum. 

Chewing gum isn’t just a quick way to freshen your breath while you’re out and about. Popping a piece in your mouth helps loosen food particles and plaque from your teeth. According to a Journal of the Irish Dental Association study, chewing on sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, leading to the following benefits: 

  • Strong saliva flow, which promotes rapid removal of sugars in the mouth. 
  • High pH levels in saliva that can neutralise plaque pH from sugars. 
  • Reduced incidence of tooth decay, particularly in children. 

Brush with a washcloth or paper towel. 

Many people go on a holiday expecting complimentary toiletry kits at their accommodation. Unfortunately, not every place offers them. If you find no toothbrush in sight, try the washcloth trick moms use on infants and children. 

Start by wrapping the corner of a clean rag around your finger. Take some toothpaste and gently rub it against your teeth. Make sure to reach behind every tooth to get as much food debris as possible. You can also follow the same process with a thick paper towel. 

Gargle mouthwash. 

Nothing is more annoying than dining out and consuming foods that leave an undesirable odour in your mouth. The quickest remedy? Mouthwash! Swishing an oral rinse cleans your teeth and freshens your breath. A minute of rinsing can kill microbes and hinder plaque formation effectively. Unlike other alternatives that involve teeth rubbing, mouthwash works perfectly for orthodontic device wearers. 

Munch on vegetables. 

At a party and want to keep your pearly whites clean? Reach for crunchy vegetables like cucumbers, raw carrots, or celery sticks for a quick fix. These high-fibre veggies can naturally scrub teeth like a brush. The more chewing you do, the more bacteria-fighting saliva your mouth will produce. So go ahead and enjoy a crunchy vegetable snack for a brighter smile. 

Floss thoroughly.  

Dentists everywhere recommend brushing and flossing daily. But when a toothbrush isn’t at your disposal, you can rely on dental floss to eliminate bacteria and food stuck between the teeth and gums. Remember to do it thoroughly but gently to avoid gum irritation. 

Use your index finger. 

Sometimes, finding an ideal implement to replace your toothbrush at the last minute isn’t always possible. So the next best option? Your index finger! Start by thoroughly washing your hands. Then, apply a small amount of toothpaste on a fingertip. Using quick sweeping back and forth motions, gently rub the toothpaste onto your teeth. Easy! 

Why You Should Never Neglect Your Oral Health

Close-up photo of toothbrush and toothpaste on a bathroom sink.
Always replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

Not having a toothbrush shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect your oral well-being. Think that skipping your dental routine once won’t lead to problems? Research shows the potential harm plaque can cause to your gums and overall health. So don’t hesitate to pick an alternative to clean your mouth. Here are some benefits you shouldn’t miss:  

  1. Tooth decay prevention: Plaque buildup occurs daily and can lead to decay. When left untreated, the condition may require tooth extraction. Practise proper dental hygiene techniques to prevent this.  
  2. Whiter and brighter teeth: Plaque can turn into tartar, causing tooth discolouration. Brushing after meals helps maintain a bright smile.  
  3. Pleasant breath: Bacterial growth in your mouth can result in bad breath. A thorough oral care routine prevents this from happening. 
  4. Healthy gums: Skipping brushing and flossing promotes bacterial buildup on your teeth and gums.  
  5. Financial savings: Regular teeth care prevents dental problems and reduces the need for expensive dental treatments, helping you save money in the long run. 

You have numerous options to maintain your teeth. But what if you don’t have access to the usual dental products? Skipping your routine is never an option, so it’s crucial to learn how to brush your teeth even without a toothbrush. Additionally, schedule dental appointments at least twice a year to stay on top of your oral care needs. If you have orthodontic concerns, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist immediately. Consider ClearCorrect aligners as a treatment option to keep your smile as healthy as possible.  

 

References: 

Dahiya, P., Kamal, R., Luthra, R., Mishra, R., & Saini, G. (2012). Miswak: A periodontist′s perspective. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine

Haque, M. R., & Alsareii, S. A. (2015). A review of the therapeutic effects of using miswak (Salvadora Persica) on oral health. Saudi Medical Journal, 36(5), 530–543. 

Ismail, K. (2016). The Use of Miswak as Toothbrush for Orthodontic Patient. Case Reports in Dentistry

Periodontal (Gum) Disease. (n.d.). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 

The Best Foods For A Healthy Smile and Whole Body | College of Dentistry | University of Illinois Chicago. (n.d.). 

The oral health benefits of chewing gum. (2012, November 1). PubMed. 

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A woman with healthy teeth smiling in front of the mirror.

7 Telltale Signs of Healthy Teeth

Date: June 14, 2023
Claiming you have healthy teeth takes more than facing a mirror and flashing the brightest set of pearly whites. Remember: just because they look sparkling doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in tip-top shape! The task requires a thorough assessment involving every nook and cranny – best with the help of your trusted dentist, of course. Then […]
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