Camper brushing teeth at campsiteArizona has long been a destination for outdoorsy types. Boasting some of the greatest hiking and camping spots in the nation in close proximity to the Greater Phoenix metro area, there are so many places to get back in touch with nature. While you’re at it, though, it’s important to keep your oral health up to speed. Here are some tips on keeping your teeth (and the rest of you) safe and healthy while you’re out in the wild.
First and foremost, keep in mind that the mint scent and flavor of your toothpaste will attract animals. That’s why it’s best to keep your toothpaste with your food, and when you’re brushing, make sure to hike 10-15 minutes away from your campsite and spit your toothpaste out far away.
When it’s time to brush, follow these steps:

  1. Wet your toothbrush with clean water.
  2. Place toothpaste on your brush and brush thoroughly for 2 minutes as you typically would, getting all sides of all your teeth.
  3. Tilt your head back and pour water in your mouth to rinse. Be sure to avoid getting toothpaste on the rim of your bottle (again, bears are a real thing).
  4. Rinse and spit, either into a container with a tight-fitting lid or into the woods. If you do spit into the woods, spray an area as wide as you can. This keeps globs of toothpaste from ending up in the woods where a small animal might ingest it.
  5. Replace the cap on your toothpaste securely and seal it up in a plastic bag.
  6. Floss as usual, and make sure to take your floss with you and place in a proper trash receptacle.

If you need to lighten your load during a trip, try making toothpaste dots by laying out a sheet of foil and making rows of dollops of your favorite toothpaste. Allow these to dry for 2-4 days then sprinkle the tops with baking soda to keep them from sticking. When it is time to brush, just place one dot in your mouth, chew slightly, add a small amount of water and begin brushing as usual.