I like having a clean mouth, even when I’m in the woods! But when I say clean, I don’t mean soap-n-suds clean, like you might get with regular toothpaste… so use the following tips n’ tricks to help your mouth stay as fresh as possible.
The “Twig-Brush”– I like picking a small, young twig , chewing the end of it so it is soft and frayed, and using it to massage my gums and brush debris out of my teeth. It doesn’t get everything out, but it is a lot better than using nothing. I also like picking twigs from trees that have anti-inflammatory qualities, like willow, because gums can so easily get inflamed by trapped food, and thereby end up trapping more food–an endless cycle! I also like to choose twigs that have anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities, like cottonwood and birch, to help keep the germs away. And although those are my favorites, you can really use whichever trees you want (but make sure you know what tree it is… you probably don’t want to go brushing your teeth with cascara haha).
Mouth Rinses and Fresheners- I like rinsing my mouth with things that taste good, but more importantly with things that help keep my mouth clean. And feel free to mix and match herbs! I like Self-Heal mouth rinses, because it is antibacterial, anti-virul, and astringent, and I seem to find it everywhere during the summer. I am a big fan of lemonbalm, too, because it has the same qualities as self-heal, and tastes very good! Field mint, peppermint, and spearmint are also good rinses, and leave the mouth fresh. A new favorite of mine is using the common weeds pineappleweed and chamomile, which are both anti-inflammatories, antibacterial, and soothing. And what is one to do in the winter, when the green herbs die back? Well, try some evergreen tea! The tea of firs, pines, and hemlocks are not only breath freshening, but anti-fungal as well!
Now I must finish by saying this…the less you eat refined sugars and processed foods with crazy chemicals, the easier it will be to keep your mouth clean! Happy trails, and have fun experimenting!