Brushing Without Toothpaste

How important is toothpaste for healthy teeth really? And what to do if you forgot the toothpaste once on vacation?

I’ll explain why using toothpaste is necessary in the first place, and what you can do if you don’t have any handy right now

Note: If you are looking for specific toothpaste recommendations and more information on the different varieties (sensitive, whitening, etc.), then please continue reading in the main article on toothpaste.

Here’s where we continue with the actual topic and the question of whether toothpaste is always necessary.

Why use toothpaste?

While toothpaste as we know it today is a modern invention, even the ancient Romans used aids for dental care.

brushing teeth with toothpaste

Toothpaste has a long tradition.

Plinius describes in his works the use of tooth powder, which was used for cleaning 2000 years ago.

Toothpaste is a useful supplement and in the long run you should not do without it – because it permanently protects the teeth from caries and other diseases.

This is how modern toothpaste works

Toothpaste combines 2 important functions and thus helps with dental health:

  • Small cleaning particles in toothpaste provide more abrasion. This not only helps you better loosen impurities, but also makes your teeth whiter.
  • Added fluoride serves to prevent tooth decay, according to most dentists.

In addition, there are other touted functions (especially in advertising), but the points listed here represent the most important basic properties of any toothpaste.

So there is toothpaste specifically for gingivitis, tartar, or bad breath. Everything important about it I answer you in detail in another post.

Tip: Do you already use the advantages of electric toothbrushes or sonic toothbrushes? Compared to conventional manual toothbrushes, you clean your teeth even more conveniently and thoroughly.

Fluorides provide long-term protection

Toothpaste contains fluorides that protect your teeth.

If you don’t have toothpaste handy, you probably won’t be able to rustle up fluorides in a hurry. Going without in an emergency, however, is not a problem at all.

Toothpaste with fluoride

Toothpaste contains important fluoride, which protects your teeth.

In the long run, however, you should better rely on this additive for prophylaxis (prevention) – but if you don’t have toothpaste on hand, normal brushing is still very useful.

Tabs instead of toothpaste

In addition to classic toothpaste, you can also use tabs as an alternative:

  • Just put a tab in your mouth
  • Then chew it up.
  • The tablet will then mix with your saliva to form a creamy consistency.
  • Then brush your teeth with a toothbrush as usual.

Tip: Before rinsing, you can wait a few minutes so that the paste can develop its full effect.

The manufacturers promise an even better effect through the capsule form, as ingredients such as fluoride should hold better.

The toothbrush tablets are easy to handle and I find them very convenient, especially when traveling.

You get the tablets with fresh mint flavor and in different pack sizes. A tin with 125 tabs is enough for about 2 months.

The tabs are a complete replacement for regular toothpaste and are ideal when traveling.

Forgotten toothpaste – what to do?

If you ever run out of toothpaste or forget it while traveling, you can brush your teeth without the pasta from the tube.

You may clean your teeth more thoroughly with toothpaste, but brushing and flossing by hand is still the most important.

Cleaning teeth without toothpaste

Use dental floss to effectively remove all food debris.

Even without toothpaste, you can remove food debris and remove the breeding ground for harmful bacteria. So reach for your toothbrush anyway, even if you don’t have any toothpaste handy at the moment.

Home remedies as a toothpaste substitute

You can also reach for alternatives like baking soda (I don’t recommend) or coconut oil (better) with antibacterial properties.

baking soda toothbrush

As a toothpaste substitute, baking soda is not recommended.

However, ordinary salt is a simpler solution both at home and when traveling. In terms of taste, it should also be far more pleasant than baking soda.

Tip: You can also dissolve the salt in water and then gargle like a mouthwash.

Brush your teeth with salt

You have no toothpaste at hand? Then you can use salt as an alternative.

With salt you increase the abrasion and can thus remove discoloration better.

  • Just use it like classic tooth powder: spread a small amount of salt in your mouth and start brushing.
  • If you have sensitive gums, however, be careful: The increased abrasion can irritate exposed tooth necks.

Generally, you should keep a few things in mind when brushing your teeth with salt. Too much abrasion can also have negative effects. You can read more about this in the articles activated carbon for teeth and brushing teeth with baking soda.

So, when in doubt, brush your teeth better without any aids until you can buy more toothpaste.

Is activated charcoal suitable?

In addition, you can use activated charcoal as a natural as well as herbal alternative to conventional toothpaste. However, there is no fluoride in activated charcoal.

The Internet also discusses the permanent use of natural toothpaste alternatives without fluoride, but most of the science is in favor of conventional toothpaste as a supplement to brushing.

Native people, for example, may get by completely without these aids. However, their diet cannot be compared with ours. In industrialized countries like Germany, in fact, we have to contend with a high consumption of sugar and processed foods.

Note: Well-known are activated charcoal or dental care products with activated charcoal such as black toothpaste, especially for whitening teeth.

Are mouthwashes helpful?

If you have mouthwashes on hand, you should definitely use them. In fact, rinses often contain fluoride, so you’ll at least begin to cover that area.

Mouthwash instead of toothpaste

No toothpaste on hand? Brush your teeth with a toothbrush anyway and use a mouthwash in addition.

But don’t forget to brush with your toothbrush, too.

Mouthwashes will give you fresh breath, but you will not remove all food debris or plaque with them. Therefore, I recommend that you use a combination of both.

Conclusion: do not do without toothpaste

Toothpaste is a useful supplement. However, you make the greatest contribution to healthy dental care with normal, daily brushing.

  • If you are conscientious in this regard, it does no harm at all if you occasionally do not use toothpaste.
  • For emergencies, it is best to reach for the numerous aids that have at least similar abrasion properties as toothpastes.

Durably, however, you should not do without the fluoride added in toothpaste specifically.

Caution is also advised if you have teeth that are sensitive to cold. The abrasion caused by salt or baking soda can then be very unpleasant, as the cleaning particles are not as fine-grained as you are used to from toothpastes.

Just be careful not to use fluoride.

Just make sure to always have enough toothpaste on hand. In my opinion, this is the most straightforward solution.