Brushing Without Toothpaste

You lumber into the bathroom to brush your teeth, wondering what you forgot while grocery shopping the night before. When you notice the tube of toothpaste rolled up to the cap, you remember what you forgot at the store. Desperately you try to push out whatever might be left, but not even a single bead of goo emerges.

You are now officially out of toothpaste. No other tubes in the cabinets, and no neighbors to borrow from. You don’t want to skip your oral hygiene routine, and you also don’t want to go to work with morning breath. What can you do? You can’t call in sick because you ran out of toothpaste – that doesn’t even work for dentists. Is there any way to survive this debacle?

Hope Remains without Toothpaste!

First off, we congratulate you for sticking to your oral hygiene. In today’s fast-paced society, it’s easy to forget simple things – like toothpaste. Many don’t give enough priority to their oral hygiene, neglecting it until damage is done. But not you – no, you invariably brush for two minutes twice a day, supplemented with flossing and mouthwash. Well done!

Why is toothpaste an important part of oral hygiene? First, it gives you fresh breath. Next, it offers abrasive qualities to remove stains, as well as chemical components like fluoride that help kill bacteria and destroy the plaque they produce. If you run out, however, it’s not the end of your routine. In a pinch, use plain water to stimulate salivary flow and assist your toothbrush. If you have mouthwash on hand, a sip of that is also helpful, especially for freshening the breath. The goal is to use safe liquids to assist in sweeping away food debris, removing plaque, and dislodging some of the bacteria causing morning breath.

Alternatives to Toothpaste

In desperate cases, you could apply a very small amount of baking soda to your toothbrush and brush with that. (NOTE: use baking soda, not baking powder. Baking powder contains aluminum and acids that do more harm than good to your teeth.) A small amount of hydrogen peroxide, diluted in a glass of water, is also a last resort when the toothpaste is all gone. Both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are not designed to clean teeth and do not have essential ingredients to bolster and protect your oral health. They do okay when you’re out of toothpaste, but only temporarily. They are never a replacement for it, since it is designed specifically to benefit your teeth.

When buying toothpaste, you might want to stock up on an extra tube, or at least a travel tube you can keep in the car, in a go bag, or at the office in case you run out again. It wouldn’t hurt to have a low-level, soft bristled toothbrush, floss, and a travel bottle of mouthwash too, secured in all the places you visit regularly. Effectively, you can put together an “oral hygiene essentials kit” to make sure you have a reliable option if you run out again. Sometimes you can find these kits already put together for you at your local supermarket or pharmacy.

Running out of toothpaste is certainly not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your daily oral hygiene routine. Keep up the good work by brushing, flossing and mouth rinsing daily. And if you have any concerns, feel free to discuss them with us at the Yuba City Dentistry Group.


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