DIY Bushcraft Toothbrush Definitive Guide

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In this article, you will learn exactly how to make a DIY Bushcraft toothbrush.

You are walking in the wilderness when you stray from the group. You pull out your phone when you realize you have no signal and can’t call for help and might be stranded for months. Luckily you bought a life straw water bottle from our other article and learned how to catch fish from our How to Make a Fish Hook Out of a Can Tab for Survival because food and water are essential in a survival situation.

However, you have the problem of having terrible dental hygiene. Dental hygiene is necessary to maintain because dealing with a bad cavity or dental abscess in the wilderness can leave you in septic shock or crippling pain.

Today, I am going to teach you different methods of how you can make a DIY Bushcraft Toothbrush in order to have white teeth in the wilderness. (Disclaimer: if you cannot identify the plant 100% positively, don’t put it in your body)

Let’s dive right in.

Pounded Hardwood Twig

cleanliness factors and a natural oral hygiene kit

Native Americans have been recorded using hardwood twigs to clean their teeth for many years. 

A few non-toxic hardwood types used for toothbrushes 300 to 400 years ago included dogwood, oak, and maple.

Simply cut a green twig about the diameter of a pencil and the same length to make a twig toothbrush. Using a clean, smooth rock, pound the end of the twig. Then, chew for a minute to moisten and soften the bristles before brushing away.

You can also bend the end of the twig at a 90-degree angle to get the backs of your teeth, which a simple tuft of pine needles cannot do.

Avoid potentially toxic twigs such as Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron, Black Locust, Yew, Buckeye, and Horse Chestnut. Do not use them in any circumstance for fruits, heating, or even firewood.


Bunch of Pine Needles

dogwood pine needles

Pine trees are evergreen coniferous trees native to most Northern Hemisphere countries like Northern Africa. There are over 126 species of pine trees in the world, according to estimates. Pines are similar to other conifers, such as fir trees, cedars, and spruces.

Pine trees thrive in a variety of habitats, including cold regions of North America, rain forests, and hot sandy deserts. Pine trees, which grow quickly and are tall, straight trees, are another significant source of wood. Despite the fact that pinewood is softwood, many species are hard and solid enough to be used in construction.

Pinewood is also an important source of pulp to make everyday paper.

If you can find pine nearby, you can easily make a toothbrush. Scrub your teeth thoroughly with a tuft of pine needles. The needles leave your breath piney new, and chewing them a little gives you a few milligrams of Vitamin C. This is a great way to also naturally freshen your breath.

Another way is to twist and detach the fibers at the branch’s base until they begin to fray. Then trim the fibers on the branch with a cutting tool to create a clean line of bristles on one end and a toothpick on the other, similar to the appearance of a store-bought toothbrush. Soften the fibers by rubbing them in saliva or water and lightly chewing them. Your toothbrush will now be made from the refined branch.

Licorice Root

limited resources bug-out-bag licorice root

Since the beginning of time, licorice has been used in medicine. Theophrastus, an ancient Greek philosopher, recorded the use of the root to treat respiratory disorders. The Chinese used the roots to treat a variety of ailments.

Licorice root can be easily grown in your own garden, but if you find it in the wild, you just need to chew off the end of the root, and it will be sufficient. 

Licorice root not only frays when you chew it, transforming it into something like a tiny toothbrush, but it also imparts a licorice taste that will help your oral health and breath dramatically.


How to make toothpaste in the wild

middle east twig toothbrush toothpaste

So you have finished making a toothbrush from foraged materials, but you need to brush your teeth with toothpaste. Toothpaste is a necessary ingredient in anyone’s survival kit, but it shouldn’t be prioritized before the toothbrush itself. Here are the materials that you will need to find to make the toothpaste

  • Charcoal* from a safe fire source
  • Wild peppermint, mint, or spearmint
  • Two fist-sized rocks
  • Knife/Multitool
  • Water (preferably drinkable water)
  • Container that stores water or water bottle

To begin with, you want to find and gather hardwood charcoal from an old fire or make new charcoal from a healthy wood source (oak, aspen, white pine, birch, and coconut husks will all work well). Use only clean sources of charcoal and never use charcoal from a fire you did not start or know what was burnt in it to make the toothpaste. 

Then you want to find and pick wild peppermint, mint, or spearmint near your campsite.

You will then want to find and collect two fist-sized rocks, one circular and one flat. These will act as a mortar and pestle to assist in material processing.

Using the two rocks as a mortar and pestle, grind the charcoal into a fine powder. Since impurities and non-charred fragments of the toothpaste are highly abrasive to teeth and enamel, they must be removed. You want to be using the finest powder.

Make a liquid with extra charcoal and water that can stay on your teeth to help whiten and kill bacteria and plaque without using the chew stick. This can cause trace amounts of charcoal to stain your teeth or gum line temporarily; the instructions below will help remove them.

To continue, start processing the wild peppermint into a fine paste with the rocks as a mortar and pestle, breaking it down and releasing the essential oils.

Fill a canteen or equivalent jar halfway with water and add the processed wild peppermint. Stir the mint and water together with the toothpick end of your chew stick to make a new, wild mouthwash.

Rinse your mouth with a wild peppermint mouthwash to clear the rest of the stain and excess charcoal in your gumline, as well as to give you fresh air. Mint may also be chewed and gurgled with water. If required, re-rinse with fresh water.


Dental Hygiene

dental hygiene septic shock jaw muscles clean line of bristles

Bacteria are normally kept under control by the body’s natural defenses and good oral health treatment, such as regular brushing and flossing. However, if good oral hygiene is not practiced, bacteria levels will rise to the point that they can cause oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with a serious type of gum disease (periodontitis), according to research, can play a role in some diseases. Additionally, such diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can reduce the body’s resistance to infection, worsening oral health issues.


Final Thoughts:

Now that you have learned how to make your own Bushcraft Toothbrush, you have just improved yourself, and you are now more improved.

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