There's nothing like spending a hot summer weekend in the great outdoors, paddling a canoe, hiking through the woods, sleeping under the stars, leaving work and all of your other responsibilities behind to be one with nature.
Well, maybe not all of your responsibilities. Whether you're a regular outdoorsman or an inexperienced tag along, there's plenty of space in that backpack for your toothbrush, so before you brave the 400 traffic consider these oral hygiene tips for the outdoors.
1. Mouthwash: The next best thing
Packing mouthwash can be a lifesaver on camping trips when brushing your teeth isn't practical. While mouthwash doesn't replace brushing, it helps in reducing the level of oral bacteria to a minimum while fighting against morning breath and other annoyances. Be sure to purchase non-alcoholic mouthwash so it can be used by campers of any age.
2. Stay hydrated
Oral health ties into your overall health, and your overall health is greatly affected by hydration. It is easy to get dehydrated while relaxing all day in the sun, and it is especially important to stay hydrated during physical activities like swimming and hiking. Wherever you go, it is a good idea to bring along a refillable water bottle to ensure water is never out of reach.
3. Watch your diet
There are certain foods like chips, smores, and hotdogs that have become camping trip staples at the expense of your health. Why not cut back on these salty foods in favor of something a little more beneficial and just as enjoyable. Many fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, and brocolli are full of vitamins and nutrients that help contribute to healthy gums and the formation of enamel. Also, did you know that cheese contains natural cavity fighting agents?
4. Watch out for bears!
Did you know that mint flavored toothpaste can actually attract bears? When using mint flavored toothpaste, floss, or mouthwash, be sure to walk a good distance from your camp site and store these items in sealable bags outside of your tent. The last thing you want is a bear using your toothbrush!
No matter where you go, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene, because unlike you, bad breath and tooth decay don't take days off.