Dental care for campers and backpackers

Enjoying the wild open spaces is no reason to leave good dental care and oral hygiene back in civilization. Dr. Perry Patel, family dentist in Avila Beach, has a list of easy to follow dental care practices for the wild woman or man.

There's a big concern for both keeping up with your oral hygiene routine as well as keeping the environment clean and pristine for everyone to enjoy. So, how do you reconcile the two? How do you protect your teeth while you're out there without destroying nature?
Here are some tips to help:

  • Find eco-friendly products
  • Think about the water sources

Find eco-friendly products

Eco friendly can have wide variety of meanings. It can mean the product was sourced responsibly, like bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic, biodegradable floss and things of that nature.

Products that pack easily are good choices. And, remember to pack it out. Leave nothing behind. Store your toothbrush, paste, and floss in an easy to reach bag and have some extra bags for disposing of used floss until you have returned home. Check out disposable pre-pasted toothbrushes to reduce the chance of bacteria building up on a wet toothbrush stored in a pack.

Think about the water sources

Water seems essential for brushing teeth, but is more important for rinsing and staying hydrated. Know the water sources and pack water purification tablets or wilderness filtration kit to avoid water-borne illness. The Avila Beach dentist said brushing daily is just as important in the wild. Floss might work for a day or two, but it won’t be long to feel the effects of not brushing.

Campgrounds are a little more conducive to brushing because safe drinking water is usually available. If you can't brush straight away after eating, be sure to rinse your mouth with water. Rinsing helps remove food particles and is a very eco-friendly way to do it!

While you're out in the green, or just trying to be green at home, Dr. Patel encourages you not to neglect your dental health. Enjoy your hike, take only pictures leave only footprints, and enjoy a happy healthy mouth!