Wilderness Toothbrush

If you are stranded in the wilderness for any length of time, hygiene will quickly become an issue.  It won’t matter so much how you smell, since nobody ever died of body odor.  But poor dental hygiene can lead to serious issues that could have you incapacitated and dying a slow, painful death.

As always, being able to use the material available to you in the wilderness for whatever needs may arise will increase your chances of survival, and elevate your standard of living while you do it.  Being able to make a toothbrush in the wild is one example of this, here’s how:

  1. Find a thin, young, and still living shoot, about the thickness of your fingers. Willow shoots or pine saplings will work well.
  2. Cut off a length about the size of your forearm to make working with it easy.
  3. Remove the bark, both inner and outer, on one half of the stick. This will be the end that goes in your mouth so you will want to keep it clean.
  4. Carve the end into a steep wedge, not a point. It should look like a big flat head screwdriver, not a spear.  It is important that the angle of the wedge be very steep for the next step to work.
  5. Carefully, so that you don’t have start again with a new piece of wood, make fine cuts into the flat tip of the wedge. These cuts should only be about ¼ of an inch deep, and as close together as you can make them.  This will produce small fine sections that will serve as the bristles on the brush.

Now that your brush is complete, you can brush your teeth with it.  But unlike your toothbrush at home, you don’t want to brush in a circular motion, instead just go up and down on the teeth.  When you have done all you can with this technique you can sharpen the end to a tip and pick your teeth with it, then chew on the end after that.  This will clean your teeth and stimulate your gums.  It’s not about bad breath, it’s about health so don’t neglect brushing your teeth in the wild.

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