You have your weapons, right? You have plenty of food and water and shelter? You have fire and toys and clothes? You have a bug out location, extra reading glasses and fish antibiotics? But what are you forgetting? That nagging thing that you don’t remember? Hmm..what is it?
You teeth, silly!
Dental health is something that you can have completely taken care of before a disaster. Sure, you could get cancer or break a leg or develop another type of disease once there are no doctors around, but it’s not like you can prepare for that ahead of time. But getting your teeth in as best shape as they can be? You can totally do that. So why haven’t you?
Yesterday, I began my dental visits to get my teeth in shape just in case. I come from a family with poor teeth. I didn’t take as good of care of my teeth as I should’ve, and so before I got to the point of being in a dental emergency, I finally sucked it up and went in. The report wasn’t good…I have a ton of work to be done, and did the first phase of it yesterday. I cannot imagine going through what I went through without medicine to dull the pain, a knowing dentist to do work and the medication and situation where I could recover in relative stupor.
What to Pack in Your Dental Kit for an Emergency
Pack as many of these as you can to take care of your family, and have them in different locations. If nothing else, a toothbrush + water can be a way to keep your mouth clean. You don’t need toothpaste. You can find fingertip brushes for saving space, use travel sized ones, use chewing brushes which are little nubs you just keep in your mouth and chew on for awhile.
If you want to make your own toothpaste, use baking soda, use salt or even use commercial toothpaste, having a mild abrasive can help ‘scrub’ your teeth. You can also use travel sized toothpaste to help space. The toothpaste is less important compared to flossing/brushing.
More important than toothpaste, floss helps keep food particles and plaque forming along your gumline, saving from gingivitis and tooth decay. Floss also has uses for things outside of dental care. You can get packs of dental picks that have floss built in that are really convenient, but can be wasteful, and a 30 day supply is $1. Or buy boxes of floss for less than $1 that can last a much longer time and be useful in other situations.
Aluminum free baking soda is helpful in cooking, in cleaning and in dental care. Mixed with a little salt, it makes a great, mild abrasive to help brush your teeth and is the most basic form of dental powder you can use.
Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution found in most pharmacies & stores)
This can be used as a mouthwash, and a way to help clean your mouth of the bacteria that causes gingivitis. The bacteria is a normal thing we have in our mouths, but allowed to run amok, can create all sorts of problems. Dilute with a little water before using and rinse once or twice a day. But don’t use it to rinse if you’ve had a tooth removed until your are completely healed as hydrogen peroxide can cause more damage to jagged skin (though it’s great for cuts to disinfect).
Emergency Filling/Crown Repair Kit
You can get filling/crown repair kits that allow you to do emergency repairs on fillings and crowns until you can get to a dentist.
Extra Set of Partials / Dentures
If you happen to have partials or dentures, try to get an extra set to have just in case.You don’t want to be caught off guard without them if you lose or break your regular ones. Gumming last nights squirrel catch doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?
A dental pick can help with loosening stuck seeds or stringy food, can help in minor dental work
A dental mirror can help you see where you might be having issues. While I don’t consider this a necessity by any means, it might always come in handy.
If you find yourself in a world without a toothbrush, toothpaste, pre-rinse, post-rinse, and all the other lovely things you might use to do your dental hygiene now, what will you use when there is no corner drugstore?
Alternative Dental Care without a Toothbrush
You can use a rag to help clean your teeth, You might even use the thread or strings of fiber to use as a floss if necessary
Before the invention of the toothbrush, many people found wood to be a good cleaner of teeth. They would chew the ends of the twig to form a sort of ‘brush’ effect, then use it to clean their teeth. You can also use feathers.
Rinsing with water after eating can be a great way to help remove leftover food particles. Mix in a few drops of peppermint oil or tea tree oil, and you’ve got some great antibacterial/antifungal help going on.
Sage, mint, peppermint, parsley are all herbs you can chew to help remove food particles, plaque buildup and freshen your breath. Use a mortar to grind them down with some salt and you have a great toothpaste.
1 TB of olive oil or melted coconut oil swished in your mouth for up to 15 min a day can pull out food particles stuck deep into your gums, remove reside from your enamel and pull impurities from your soft tissue.
Pain Relief for Aching Teeth/Gums
Tea bags can be used to help relieve pain and bleeding if a tooth as been removed or gums are swollen. The tannin inside helps promote to shrink the tissue
Essential oil is said to help decrease pain from toothache. According to Tess from Ready Nutrition, Mix 2 to 3 drops of pure clove oil with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil. Saturate a cotton ball with the mixture and place the cotton ball beside the tooth.
Oil of Oregano
Work the same as with the Clove Oil.
Warm Salt Water Rinse
Not only can this help clean your mouth, help repair your mouth, and can help with throat issues, it also can be a way to help relief pain from infection.
Biting down on a piece of ginger (peeled) is also a way to help temporarily relieve tooth pain.
Using cold to help relieve swelling can temporarily relieve pain. Just make sure you keep a layer of cloth between your cold pack and skin to help not damage tissue.
But most important of all – PLEASE go see your dentist now. Yes, it might hurt, yes it might cost a lot, but it’s better to do it and get it taken care of now then after the fact when modern painkillers and practitioners may not be available. Your health and your teeth are in YOUR control.
YOUR THOUGHTS: Do you have other natural remedies to help keep your teeth clean or treat tooth pain?
Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.
She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.
Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).
Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.
Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.
Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.
She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.