Overall thruhiking is like engaging in an eternal youth machine – it seems like a bad idea, and frees you from many anchors (like rent and a career) that tie one to ‘adult’ life. The freedom from responsibility and the liberation of deciding your own fate on a daily basis certainly makes you feel like you’re on an and less 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. 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 dob 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 got, I’m trying not to go back to the dentist on trail. I realized that I was experiencing some temperature sensitivity in another tooth – enough to bother me even drinking tepid water. Bummer, right? I had heard about oil pulling at yoga camp, but always 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…