Ways To Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Brushing

Nothing can ever replace a toothbrush. Tooth brushing is obviously the first line of defense against cavities and an indispensable tool in keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Dentists advise brushing twice a day to keep your pearly whites healthy. But there are times when you don’t have a toothbrush handy, such as on a vacation when you forgot to pack the brush or even during the day when you are away from home and feel the need to clean your teeth and don’t have your brush.

So what you do when you don’t have your toothbrush readily at your disposal? Well, there are alternatives to get the feeling of having brushed not too long ago, removing plaque; food particles as well keep your breath fresh. Here are a few ways to keep your teeth clean without brushing.

Use a damp washcloth or paper towel to brush

Wet a small corner of a clean washcloth or paper towel; wrap it around your index finger.  Apply a little toothpaste if you have any. Start to rub the cloth or paper towel against your teeth, starting at the gum line. Use a short gentle back and forth strokes. You can use a circular motion too. Slowly move away from the gums towards the biting/ chewing surface of the tooth. Don’t forget the outside as well as the inside surface of each tooth. Once you are done a rinse with water. Even if you don’t have toothpaste, the rubbing action against the tooth’s surface will help to dislodge plaque and bacteria.

Use your index finger

If a paper towel or a washcloth is not available you can simply use your finger. Rubbing your finger against the surface of teeth will remove plaque and bacteria. Make sure your hands are clean. So before you start to wash them thoroughly with soap and water to prevent any germ for going into your mouth. Repeat the same step as you would with a washcloth or paper towel. Using toothpaste is better but if not don’t be dismayed if you don’t have it. So start from the gums and gently move your finger back and forth on the tooth’s surface moving towards the biting/ chewing surface. Focus on one or two teeth at a time. Once you finish with this activity with each tooth, rinse your mouth well with water to get rid of the plaque and food particles.


The usual oral hygiene routine is to brush, floss and top it up with mouthwash. But since you don’t have your toothbrush, you can swish some mouthwash around for a minute or so. Mouthwashes have ingredients that help to reduce plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, and tooth decay. Plus they also have essential oils such as menthol to give you fresh smelling breath.


Floss is usually very easy to carry along and can come in very handy when you don’t have a toothbrush. Flossing helps to get rid of plaque and food particles that are accumulated in between teeth, where even the toothbrush can’t reach. So once you are done flossing between each tooth, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. You can use a mint-flavored floss to help with foul breath.

Baking soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a white powder commonly available and also one of the ingredients in toothpaste. It has a mild abrasive quality which helps to get rid of plaque and bacteria on the tooth’s surface. Being alkaline, it has teeth whitening properties and has been used as a home remedy against tooth discoloration for ages.

Mix baking soda with water in a small cup or bowl; make a paste out of it. Apply this paste to your teeth with fingers or a wet washcloth or paper towel using the method mentioned earlier. You will get clean as well as whiter looking teeth! Rinse carefully to remove all remains of soda and be careful not to swallow any during the process. Don’t brush longer than two minutes at a time as baking soda can erode the enamel on your teeth being abrasive.


Munching on crunchy fiber-rich vegetables can act as a natural toothbrush. The chewing action massages your gums and cleans your teeth at the same time. So chewing on apples, carrots, celery can help to remove plaque and food particles stuck on your teeth. Plus chewing will also produce plenty of saliva to neutralize bacteria.

Chewing gum

Chewing on gum will help to dislodge plaque and food particles. Saliva production is quite rapidly due to the chewing action, which in turn helps rinse away harmful acids produced by the bacteria in plaque. As an added bonus, it freshens your breath. Try to use sugarless gum to make it a healthy process.


This is the cheapest, most easily available and fastest way to clean teeth. Just rinse your mouth vigorously with water. It will loosen food stuck in your teeth, as well as act to rinse away the harmful acids produced by bacteria.

These are some surprising ways to keep your teeth clean in situations when you don’t have the toothbrush handy. But you can never substitute brushing. Regular brushing with toothpaste, flossing and a healthy diet low in sugar along with visiting your dentist twice a year are the secrets to healthy teeth. Make an appointment today with our dental specialists at Signature Smiles to keep your mouth healthy and your teeth sparkling!

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