Okay, once again I’ll admit I’m pretty obsessed about keeping myself groomed. Yes, to the point of keeping my pearly-whites – well, pearly white. I just love that just cleaned feeling of just brushed teeth don’t you? Slick, shiny and sparkley – okay I know you can’t ‘feel’ shiny and sparkley, but that’s what it feels like to me!
Did you know that most people will look at your mouth when you are talking or when you first meet? And what do they see? Your teeth! (or for some, maybe a lack of?!)
I’m a quick smiler (one-who-smiles-at someone instantly). And as a result, I’m a little self-conscious that my teeth are not as white or clean as they could be (especially after eating that piece of blueberry pie the night before. Yummm, but ugh!) So, in considering all my personal grooming aids for my survival kit, and knowing that I may not have access to store-bought products, I began to wonder what alternatives I would have for tooth paste if the poo should ever hit the fan. And, as with most of my research journeys, I found out there are tons of suggestions, thoughts and recipes for toothpaste/tooth powders. Some good, and some well not so feasible for a ‘PHTF’ (poo hits the fan) scenario.
What I tried to do was focus the majority of my attention on looking for ingredients we may have in our survival supplies already, or that we should add, if we don’t.
From looking at all the ba-gillions of tid-bits of information there is out there, a pattern began to emerge - salt, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (along with the proverbial drop or two of your favorite oil such as peppermint or spearmint.)
The method that surfaced was to put a little baking soda and salt on your tooth brush and brush, then gargling with a little hydrogen peroxide (making sure not to swallow any) and follow with dental floss. That’s it. Something passed down year after year. That’s pretty easy huh? And, we should be set to go with oral hygiene in a survival situation.
‘But what about keeping my teeth white?’ you may ask. Good question because I wanted to know that very same thing. And the answer? Strawberries!
Yepper, I said strawberries, those yummy staples you are growing in your garden (and if you’re not, you should be.)
You see, strawberries contain malic acid which acts as an astringent to remove surface discoloration. If you baking soda with strawberries it becomes a natural tooth-cleanser, buffing away stains. How cool is that???
All you need to do is, take one ripe strawberry and crush it to a pulp using a folk or back of a spoon in a bowl and then mix a ½ teaspoon of baking soda into the pulp until it is all blended. If you want, you can throw everything into a blender (not the spoon and bowl) to make it a paste like consistency, but keep in mind, you may not have access to electricity in a grid down situation and so I am focusing more here on off grid remedies. Once your mixture is done, put some on your toothbrush and spread the mixture onto your teeth. Just like you would with your “whitening-type strips”, leave this mixture on your teeth for about 5 minutes, and then brush thoroughly with your homemade toothpaste to remove the berry–baking soda mix and then rinse. Also, remember to floss after this treatment to get rid of the little seeds that my have gotten dislodged between your teeth.
Now as with all good things, as in teeth whiteners, you must be careful not to use this whitening process too often, as the acid could damage the enamel on your teeth. NOT a good thing!! The common conscience is to not use it more than once a week.
Well what happens when you don’t have a mint to pop in your mouth? The answer. Parsley.
It seems parsley is great for bad breath. Its leaves are rich in chlorophyll and act as a powerful neutralizer of bad breath (and garlic-odor.) So keep this in mind as you’re woofing down those garlic knots with your favorite pasta meal, and then realize you have a social engagement to go to afterwards. To ward off the garlic, ask the waiter to bring a few sprigs of parsley for you to chew on after dinner. And, as an added bonus, parsley when swallowed helps reduce intestinal gases (toot toot).
Now, we know you won’t be eating garlic knots in a survival situation, but we all wake up with ‘dragon breath’. So, just like with the baking soda and salt remedy for brushing teeth, there is a simple remedy for mouthwash as well. Just boil some parsley and whole cloves together, let the mixture cool and then strain it to make a great gargle mouthwash for that “oh so fresh survivor breath”.
All of these suggestions and tips, plus more can be found in my book Survivor Jane's Guide To Emergency/Survival Hygiene: A Prepper "Cookbook" for Making Survival Personal Hygiene Products
"Now, smile pretty!!! Just sayin'.
- Survivor Jane
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