Thruhiking is like engaging in an eternal youth machine – like many bad ideas, it frees you from anchors (like rent and a career) that tie you to ‘adult’ life. Freedom from responsibility and the liberation of deciding your own fate on a daily basis makes you feel like you’re on an endless summer vacation.
But let’s be real – we’re basically on the candy bar diet out here, vegan or not, and at some point you gotta grow up and take responsibility for what’s happening in your dirty mouth.
Personally, I really like brushing and flossing on trail – it’s my adult time. The one time each day when I get to feel responsible for my own health. Also, trail hygiene is not only attractive but necessary if you don’t want to alienate yourself not just from society but other hikers. Please – shower, do laundry, swim in lakes whenever possible, wash your butt AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH.
Pictured above is my basic dental hygiene kit, which contains:
- a mesh bag for drying the tooth brush
- Child sized fluorescent toothbrush from Big Lake Youth Camp (why not keep it fun?)
- Dental floss
- 2oz bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Mini toothpaste
Most of these items are self explanatory. You might have some questions about what olive oil is doing in my dobb kit tho…
I recently got my first root canal (boooooo) resulting in my first gold tooth (finally!) As much as I like the gold tooth, I’m trying not to go back to the dentist for a while. I realized that I was experiencing some temperature sensitivity in another tooth – enough to bother me even drinking tepid water. Bummer, right? I had hear about oil pulling at yoga camp, but thought it was to woo-woo for me. However I was willing to try anything to stay on trail, so I tried it.
Every morning I swished about a tablespoon of EVOO (tho unfiltered sesame and coconut oil also work) for 10-20 minutes, followed by a water rinse and brushing. And you know what? IT TOTALLY WORKS DUDE. I experienced far less tooth sensitivity when I kept up the practice, tho it takes about 10 days to start being effective. So I guess 6000 years of Ayurvedic medicine can’t be wrong…