With the 2016 election hanging in the balance, along with talk of impending earthquakes and hurricanes, it’s not hard to imagine America in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Okay, maybe it’s a little far fetched – but still, have you ever wondered how you’ll take care of your oral health in such dire straits?
If you’re ever in a survival situation, a key step to preserving your life will be preserving your dental health. There are a few ways you can go about this: you can make due with what you have, put together a survival kit, and know the appropriate ways to treat teeth pain without access to dental care.
If you have traditional braces, make sure that you’re well stocked up on wax to keep mouth sores from brackets to a minimum. Clear braces would be a more practical form of orthodontia in a survival situation. Dental health pangs could make or break you in a survival situation. After all, toothaches are one of the most severe pains you can experience as a human.
Your Dental Health Survival Kit
First, remember that everything we’re about to mention is completely hypothetical. You should only use these survival skills in situations where doctors or dentists aren’t around. Dentist chairs, heavy equipment, and medical grade drugs are out of the question in survival scenarios. For your dental health survival kit, you’ll need to put together a hefty inventory of small equipment dental items.
- Dental health necessities: Make sure you have a proper supply of equipment for keeping dental health in tact. This includes floss, dental picks, (manual) toothbrushes, toothpaste, baking soda, and clean water.
- Gloves and other sanitary necessities: Even if you’re not a dental hygienist or a trained medic, you should get sanitization supplies. Look for hypoallergenic gloves and medical masks. In fact, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re wearing gloves anytime you’re putting your fingers in someone else’s mouth.
- Wax, again: We mentioned wax for braces earlier. You should make sure you have a steady supply of wax in general. If someone is suffering from a loose tooth, you can use wax to hold the tooth in place next to the neighboring tooth.
- All things cotton: It never hurts to stock up on basic first aid materials, like cotton balls, cotton rolls, q tips, and gauze sponges. These are important to have on hand, in case someone loses a tooth or needs a tooth pulled. Gauze and cotton are good materials for soaking up blood. If you forget to add cotton balls to your kit, you can substitute a clean piece of cotton clothing or rag.
- Temporary fillings: Temporary filling kits are a great purchase choice, in case you or someone in your group is experiencing sensitivity from cavities. Some good brands of temporary commercial filling are Tempanol, Cavit, or Den-temp.
- Tongue depressors. In the case that someone needs to look in your mouth – or you need to check someone else’s mouth – a spatula is a good substitute if you can’t find a tongue depressor. Try saving all those summertime Popsicle sticks to create a well-stocked supply.
- Dental mirrors. These are essential, especially if you need to get a good look in the back of someone’s mouth.
Pain Relievers and Medicine for Oral Health
Severe toothaches from cavities or dental abscesses can get so bad that it’s difficult to concentrate on anything other than the pain. In fact, you can see this throughout history. During the Vietnam War, it was noted that half of the daily sick calls came from dental pain.
One of the best natural anesthetics to have in your repertoire is clove oil. Clove oil’s main active component, eugenol, is found in many toothache medicine brands .
You can find eugenol in dental products like Red Cross Toothache Medicine and Dent’s Toothache Drops. When applying products with eugenol, try and avoid getting it on the tongue, or anywhere other than your teeth. Clove oil can burn sensitive areas in your mouth.
Dent’s also has another common dental anesthetic compound in it, benzocaine. Benzocaine is found in Orajel and Hurricaine, which are great anesthetics for mouth sores, canker sores, and burns.
If you can’t get your hands on temporary fillings for your emergency kit, you can make a temporary filling that also serves as a pain relief for cavities. To do this, mix zinc oxide powder with 2 drops of clove oil. However, only resort to doing this as a last ditch effort in the most crucial survival situations.
Over the counter pain relievers will help with pain, inflammation, and toothache induced headaches. Other good pain relievers to keep in your pack are advil, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
Don’t Have Toothbrushes for Your Oral Health?
If you find yourself in the wilderness without access to toothbrushes and toothpaste, you can find some dental health help in the woods. In certain parts of Africa (and in ancient times) people used chew sticks to clean their teeth. Chew sticks can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease by scraping away plaque and stimulating the gums.
While chew sticks aren’t as effective as toothbrushes, they have their advantages. For instance, you won’t need toothpaste. All you need is a somewhat damp twig. Try not to use dry twigs, because they can break off and fray in your teeth. The last thing you need in a survival scenario is a mouth splinter.
Keep Your Mouth Healthy Now
Don’t wait around for a hypothetical apocalyptic scenario to start caring about your dental health. Get to your general dentist today and make sure your mouth and gums are in good shape. Schedule an appointment with Dentistry of Nashville today at 615 – 383 – 3690.