Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

How to Give Teeth a Quick-Fix Clean When You Don't Have a Toothbrush Handy

There may be times during the day when you'd dearly love to clean your teeth but don't have a toothbrush or floss with you. For example, if you have an important meeting where you need to make a good impression or are going out after work on a hot date, you may be conscious that your teeth aren't as clean as they should be and are suffering from the stuff you've been eating and drinking all day. At a push, you don't need a toothbrush to spruce up your teeth and can find ways to make them look cleaner and brighter.

Wash Your Teeth

If your teeth simply have that end-of-the-day fuzzy look, you can give them a gentle wash by wetting a tissue or paper towel and rubbing the cloth across your teeth. While this isn't as effective as a good brushing session, a wipe may help remove some of the daily debris from your teeth, leaving them feeling less fuzzy and looking more polished.

Eat Something Crunchy

Some crunchy and fibrous foods can help give your teeth and gums an impromptu clean. For example, eating an apple, a piece of celery or a few carrot sticks may be useful. The fibres in these kinds of foods scrub on your teeth when you eat them. This may help clean up any gunk that is sitting on your teeth. Foods that have a decent water content and that make you chew also put saliva into your mouth to help wash it out.

While some crunchy foods can help wash out your mouth, others may not be such a good option. For example, eating nuts may help clean off your teeth, but you are also likely to end up with pieces of nut stuck between your teeth. This could add to your cleaning woes and doesn't give you the best look.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum can be an effective way of brightening up your teeth. Gum's sticky properties may give your teeth a gentle clean and may remove food particles that are stuck between your teeth.

Again, chewing gum increases your saliva flow. This helps wash out around your teeth and gums and has the added bonus of neutralising acids that may be sitting on your teeth after eating. Gum is also a quick way to freshen up your breath if you have that end-of-day or post-eating bad smell in your mouth.

Try to avoid chewing gums that are not sugar-free. Sugar-free gums can help clean up your teeth and protect them without causing any damage; gums that contain sugar may clean and protect in some ways but will also coat your teeth with harmful sugars that may ultimately cause tooth decay.

Swish Some Water

Plain water can be a useful emergency dental cleaning tool that may also give your teeth a quick floss. If you drink a mouthful of water and then swish it around your teeth for a few minutes, you may notice that your teeth feel and look cleaner.

If you swish vigorously and suck the water back and forth through your teeth, you may also be able to dislodge food particles that are stuck between your teeth. Once you're done, it's best to spit the water out if you can rather than swallow it. The water may contain gunk from your mouth that you'd rather not have in your system.  

While these tips can be useful when you need an emergency clean, it's important to remember that none of them should replace a good dental hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day and visiting your dentist regularly are the best ways to keep your teeth looking good.