Dental hygiene in an Emergency

Dental hygiene is important to your overall health.  In addition to the pain of a toothache or sore gums, oral infections can be detrimental to your overall health. Recently, medical science has recognized that oral infection, especially periodontitis, can have an adverse affect on the course ofa number of systemic diseases such as the following.

  • Cardiovascular Disease (Heart attack and Stroke)
  • Bacterial Pneumonia
  • Low Birth Weight/Extreme High Birth Weight
  • Diabetes complications
  • Osteoporosis

One of the best steps you can take to protect yourself from dental problems in an emergency situation is prevention.  Brush and floss your teeth twice a day.  Stock up on toothbrushes, dental floss, toothpaste and any other dental hygiene items that you use.

Make sure that you are having your teeth cleaned and examined on a regular basis.  Don’t postpone any dental work. You may regret having put that root canal off. As a child, I remember that it was very common for older adults to have false teeth.  Prior to modern dentistry, pulling the tooth was the normal treatment for cavities.

Toothpaste as we know it has only been around for about 100 years.  Prior to that people used various concoctions to brush their teeth, for example the following.

  • ground-up chalk or charcoal
  • lemon juice
  • ashes (you know, the stuff that’s left over after a fire)
  • tobacco and honey mixed together, not to be recommended, you might end up with cancer of the mouth.
  • Baking soda

In an emergency you can make an improvised toothbrush. Take a twig from a tree (willow or poplar is best).  Sharpen one end to use for picking your teeth.  Chew on the other end and use the fibers as a brush. It is better than nothing.

I will write a post on dental first aid in a few days.





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2 Responses to Dental hygiene in an Emergency

  1. Hugh Dyment says:

    I noted with alarm the post about substances used for teeth cleaning before the advent of modern toothpaste. I realize it wasn’t suggested that these items be used, but I’m afraid some readers might do so. You noted the problem associated with tobacco and honey (cancer), but lemon juice too may have needed a warning. Archeological digs from colonial era settlements have shown evidence of terrible tooth decay due to men and women of that time using acidic substances to clean, and possibly whiten, their teeth. The acid in lemon juice could have terrible long term effects at it dissolves the protective calcium on the outside of our teeth. I worry too (but have no knowledge) about the effect of the lye in wood ash that was also mentioned as something used in times past. I’ll stick with baking soda if no toothpaste is available!

  2. admin says:

    Thank you

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