Brushing teeth is important, but people don’t always have a toothbrush and toothpaste available or enough time to brush since they are in a rush and grab a snack on the go. If you can’t brush, there are several other ways to clean your teeth, freshen your breath, and prevent cavities.

How to Clean Your Teeth Without a Toothbrush

You can make an improvised toothbrush with a damp paper towel or cloth. Wash your hands, wrap the material around your finger, and use it the way you would a toothbrush.

If you or someone else has mouthwash, you can rinse to remove food particles and freshen your breath. When mouthwash isn’t available, rinsing with water can help.

Chewing sugarless gum can loosen pieces of food stuck between your teeth and stimulate your mouth to produce saliva, which can wash away bacteria. Flavored sugarless gum can also freshen breath.

Chewing crunchy fruits and vegetables can remove plaque and some of the bacteria that cause bad breath. Raw carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, apples, and pears are all good choices.

Choose Foods That Won’t Damage Your Teeth

If you eat sugary foods and don’t brush soon after, sugar can linger on your teeth. When combined with bacteria in your mouth, tooth decay can result. If you know you won’t have an opportunity to brush your teeth, avoid sugary foods and beverages. Skip the candy, baked goods, and soda and choose a healthy meal or snack so that any food particles that remain on your teeth won’t cause decay.

Dairy foods are good for your teeth since they contain calcium that can keep them strong. Cheese has enzymes that can neutralize the bacteria that contribute to bad breath. Hard cheeses are low in sugar. Milk and yogurt are also healthy choices, either alone or in combination with other foods and beverages, to protect your teeth when you can’t brush.

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that can prevent tooth decay. You can also get a serving of vitamins and minerals from fruit or vegetable juice but choose an unsweetened variety. Avoid dried fruit that could stick to your teeth.

Whole grains are healthier than processed versions with added sugar. Whole wheat bread or pasta will provide more nutrition and will be less likely to damage your teeth than processed grains.

Proteins are generally low in sugar. That means they will be unlikely to damage your teeth if you can’t brush after a meal.

Promote Good Oral Hygiene

If you know that your kids won’t be able to brush their teeth at school or at other activities, encourage them to clean their teeth in other ways or to choose healthy foods and beverages. Make sure your kids brush twice a day and floss daily and take them to the dentist for exams and cleanings as recommended. If your child is due for a visit, schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry.