Wow. We can’t believe we even agreed to do this specific challenge. It was definitely an odd week, and maybe a little gross.
We never realized how convenient our toothbrushes were until we decided to give them up for a week. We (mostly Joshua) have always wondered if the benefit of brushing our teeth is received from the toothpaste or the toothbrush. The answer, according to our research this past week, is both.
Toothpaste is a wonderful tool for cleaning our teeth, fighting and destroying plaque, and leaving our face hole feeling fresh and clean. However, it is quite difficult, nigh impossible, to apply this beneficial ointment to our oral opening without a toothbrush.
We read several articles that had recommendations for maintaining oral hygiene without the use of toothbrush.
- Use mouthwash. We tried using mouthwash exclusively a few of the mornings after getting out of bed. It left our mouths feeling fresh and minty, but we were doubtful as to the strength with which it removed crud from our mouths. The mouthwash may be powerful enough to kill germs, but it did not seem to be able to scrub our teeth clean. Decent solution, but definitely not a long-term thing.
- Increase the amount of cruciferous veggies you consume. This would include items like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. We also included carrots in this category due to their stiff, slightly fibrous texture. We already eat a solid amount of veggies, so it was a challenge to increase the amount of veggies we ate. It was also very tough to see the impact this had on our oral hygiene.
- Use a paper towel. This was mentioned in an article as an emergency tactic if you happened to be traveling and forgot to bring a toothbrush but remembered your toothpaste. The towel did help us scrub the paste into our teeth, but without bristles it could not reach the tiny spaces between our teeth. It also left our mouths quite dry and tasting of paper towel.
- Use toothpaste + your finger for “scrubbing.” We did this many times during the week; however it did not get into all the crevices we needed it to, and also took forever to rinse out because we could not spread it around as evenly.
- Combo mouthwash, tooth-finger-brushing, and flossing. This was our preferred alternative oral hygiene method for the week. Flossing helped us get the bits of food out of our teeth. It also kept the spaces between our teeth free of refuse.
We do not recommend any of these solutions to any of our readers for regular use. Just use a toothbrush. We would venture to say that our toothbrushes are essential items in our lives.
Now this specific challenge was a bit silly overall. We knew we would not be giving up our toothbrushes in the long term, but we had hoped to find some solid alternative oral hygiene options. We were disappointed.
One positive thing that came from this experiment was a re-invigorated flossing routine. We have been much more consistent in our flossing since this challenge. So that is a plus!
We encourage everyone to continue brushing twice daily and flossing at least once per day. Keep your teeth clean and enjoy your life!