Toothpaste in a Pinch

Oops!  Suddenly, you realize you’re out of toothpaste.  Maybe you thought you had another tube, you didn’t realize how much you’d use, your child had a squeeze-fest, the trip lasted longer than expected or (gasp!) you forgot to bring it with you.

Not a problem if there’s a store nearby, but that’s the whole thing about being on a boat.  You can go to some pretty out of the way spots.  Or cross an ocean.  And there you are, out of toothpaste.

I had to laugh at a recent Facebook post from TBG reader Tammy Swart of Dos Libras (read her blog here):

Provisioning tip: you use a LOT more toothpaste than you think you do. We thought we had a year’s supply on board. Much to our surprise, we did not! Thankfully the Park Store here at Cayo Costa had some or it would have been baking soda and water for us…

Actually, baking soda isn’t your only option in a pinch.  There are 3 things to use as “emergency toothpaste” that I know of, and you probably have at least one if not all on board:

  • Baking soda.  I pour a little bit in my palm, dampen my toothbrush and then sort of scoop some of the baking soda out of my hand with the bristles.  By dampening the brush, the soda will stick.  Brush as usual, being sure to rinse well — particularly if you have high blood pressure and watch your sodium intake.  This is my preferred substitute, as my teeth feel really clean and baking soda is good for eliminating any odors.
  • Salt.  Same technique as above.  If you have young kids who might swallow before all the salt is rinsed away, be careful as large quantities of salt can make them very sick to their stomach!
  • Hydrogen Peroxide.  Pour a little hydrogen peroxide on the brush, then brush and rinse as usual.  Don’t be surprised when it foams in your mouth.

And yes, you can mix baking soda and salt together, too.  When all else fails, just brush with a bare toothbrush.  No, it’s not ideal.  But it’s a lot better than not brushing at all!

One more note:  if you’re trying to figure out how much toothpaste (or anything else) you need, take a look at How Much Do I Need? — it tells how I figured out what we used.

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  • Donna Cantwell
    Posted at 15 March 2014 Reply

    Baking soda mixed with pureed strawberries and lemon juice. Recipe from Dr. Oz episode this week!

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