How to Brush Your Teeth Like a Backpacker

November 4, 2022

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How to brush your teeth like a backpacking pro. If you’re going to go off the beaten track on a trip, whether you are camping in the wild, staying in hostels, or exploring well away from the much-trodden path, it is crucial that you keep looking after your teeth, and this might require a little bit of planning as you will be away from your home comforts.

Take Clean Water With You

Of course, this is a tip that is about far more than dental care. You need to make sure you have a good supply of clean water. If you can’t verify the source of water then you need to make sure you are taking bottled water on your trips with you, so you know it is free of contaminants.

Use the Water You’d Drink

When it is time to brush your teeth, use the water that you would drink. Some people think that it doesn’t matter if the water is particularly clean as it will be spat out, this isn’t necessarily true, and it is easy for parasites and contaminants to get left behind in your mouth and swallowed by mistake.

If this means using bottled water to brush your teeth then so be it. It is way better than taking any chances on the source of your water.

Consider Some Natural Alternatives To Toothpaste

Did you know that the most crucial thing about brushing is removing the plaque from the mouth and while some toothpaste helps with this, brushing, even without paste, does a pretty good job too.

Toothpaste does add protection for your mouth, and freshens the breath, but it is not always essential, and you could just use clean water to brush if you are in a pinch. You might find that you would rather take some herbal toothpaste with you, as this is less harmful to the environment if you do have to spit it out on the ground. Some people use mint, but this will potentially attract creatures to a campsite.

Swallow Your Toothpaste (Adults Only)

Ideally, campers should leave the location as they found it, and this means not spitting toothpaste and leaving it where animals could potentially ingest it. As an adult, it is pretty harmless to swallow small amounts of toothpaste after brushing, and much better than leaving it in the woods or to disturb the flora or fauna.

We don’t advise that children do this, but you may have a bin or other container for waste where your kids can spit their toothpaste out. Make sure you take it with you at the end of your trip and follow the rule of leaving the place as you found it.

Keep the Sugar on the Down Low

Brushing is vital for helping to neutralize the impact of the sugar you are consuming. If you’re going to forego your usual brushing habits for a few days then it is a good idea to try and stay away from the sugar that can accelerate some of the potential dental issues you might experience. Not consuming sugar will have a big impact.

Replace Your Toothbrush When You’re Back

When you are camping or out and about backpacking then you may not always have the cleanliness standards of your home. If you can’t be 100% certain that your toothbrush hasn’t come into contact with any kinds of contaminants while you were on your trip, replace your toothbrush when you are back. You can also buy an environmentally-friendly toothbrush to ensure that you aren’t contributing to too much waste.


A lot of people love the life of backpackers, and the excitement of visiting somewhere new and being unshackled, free to go where you want. But you will have to forego some of your home comforts and think about things like dental care. Just because your habits may have to change, backpackers have plenty of hacks that can be used to help to keep you clean and healthy.

Brushing your teeth is absolutely crucial, but you might be required to make a few changes in your usual routine and be more friendly to the environment in the process.

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Reviewed By: Dutch (Thom Ressler) - Dutch started Dutchware after thru-hiking the entire 2,200-miles of the Appalachian Trail with a hammock. During his journey, Dutch learned that there wasn’t high-quality hammocking gear available on the market so he began to create his own.

He began manufacturing the Dutch Clip, which he invented to connect the webbing suspension around the tree. Next was the Chameleon Hammock which offers superior flexibility for hammockers. Today Dutchware sells over 1,000 outdoor gear products to provide backpackers with high-quality equipment that allows them to enjoy the outdoors with a minimalist approach.

Dutch is passionate about providing the hammocking community with the highest quality gear along with the highest quality information to ensure they have the best outdoor experience possible.

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