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How to brush your teeth in the woods, Leave No Trace style
Please please please brush your teeth while you’re on the trail, even though it can feel like a chore.
And I know this may seem like a minuscule issue, but when you have dozens of hikers staying at shelters and campsites during peak season, all these little bits of smelly waste add up and can attract big critters!
So brush your teeth, like you normally would. It can be tricky at first without running water. And you usually want to save as much treated water as you can for drinking and eating, so use sparingly here.
When you’re done brushing, try to suck all the toothpaste off your toothbrush into your mouth. So you don’t have to rinse it as much. Then drink a tiny a bit of water and swish around to rinse your mouth.
Now is the fun part – broadcasting. The point of broadcasting is to disperse your toothpaste waste over a wider area and spread it out into tiny droplets instead of just a glob of toothpaste on the ground. This way, even if critters smell something, they won’t actually be able to find anything to get after and just move right along. Also, all this will be rinsed away with the next rain or even dew really quickly compared to, again, chunks of toothpaste all over the ground.
If you have kids, teens, or kids at heart, in your group it can be fun to make a competition out of who can broadcast the furthest/widest/best! Just pay attention to where the wind’s blowing 😉
For more Leave No Trace tips, check out:
- How to minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife and protect yourself on the trail
- How to share the trail
- Take only pictures, leave only footprints
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