While it seems obvious to stockpile first aid supplies for emergencies, not many people have an emergency dental kit (aka “a survival dental kit”).
Even many of the “hardcore” preppers I know still don’t have emergency dental supplies beyond some pain reliever and extra tubes of toothpaste.
I’ll be honest: I only recently built my own emergency dental kit.
I’d been delaying it under the thought process that I am clueless about dentistry and wouldn’t know what to do anyway.
It turns out that survival dentistry isn’t as complicated as you might think – so long as you are prepared.
Why Do You Need an Emergency Dental Kit?
In all of the articles I’ve read about emergency dental kits, the reason given is something along the lines of: “Remember that time you had a toothache?”
Yes, toothaches are painful.
But I want more data than this to back up why dental kits are important!
So, I started researching what would happen if SHTF and no dentists (or toothbrushes) were available anymore.
If SHTF and you could not brush and floss your teeth every day, the plaque would quickly build up on your teeth. Soon, you’d have gingivitis and other periodontal diseases causing severe pain.
Tooth pain means:
- You won’t be able to eat solid foods.
- You’ll have headaches.
- You will probably have trouble sleeping.
- You won’t be able to think clearly because of the pain and insomnia.
Eventually, you’d have to pull the tooth in order to stop the pain.
I get squeamish at the idea of pulling a tooth without an anesthetic. I get even more squeamish if I think of having to pull out my wife’s or daughter’s tooth!
Many people don’t realize that poor dental health can cause other problems in the body.
Bacterial infections in your mouth can travel to other places and cause infection.
Here are just some of the infections which can occur from bad oral health.
- Respiratory diseases like pneumonia
- Brain abscesses
In short, you need to take oral health seriously in your emergency preparedness plans!
Emergency Dental Kit Checklist
This dental kit checklist is for emergencies. It does NOT include everyday hygiene items such as toothpaste and floss.
Of course, prevention is key, so you should absolutely stockpile oral care items.
*Note that some of these items should already be in your standard first aid kit.
See a Complete First Aid Kit Checklist here.
Or see this Bug Out Bag First Aid Kit Checklist.
How Do I Use the Emergency Dental Kit?
It is pretty easy to rub pain gel on your teeth or even to use temporary dental cement.
However, what if you have to go longer without a dentist?
For those true SHTF situations, you’ll require a bit more in-depth knowledge.
There are two good emergency dental books and one good course that I know about.
They won’t make you into a dentist, but they will help you prepare for (and avoid) dental emergencies.
Great book with clear instructions. Gives you the basics for dealing with dental issues when there is no access to a dentist.
Written in straightforward language so you won’t need a PHD in dentistry to understand it.
This book is made for medical students, including dentistry students.
Because of that, the book is a bit dry and reads like a textbook. However, it is really informative.
Bonus Tip: Make Your Own Toothbrush
I can’t emphasize how important it is to brush your teeth every day in order to prevent dental emergencies when SHTF.
The problem is that it’s easy to get separated from your toothbrush.
Some of you who regularly read the Primal Survivor blog know that I am following the Syrian war crisis (I do not want to start a political discussion. Rather, I believe that these modern-day disasters can teach us a lot about preparedness!).
When one aid worker went to Syria with a mobile dentist van, she found that many families weren’t brushing their teeth.
The reason why?
Because it seemingly made more sense to use what little money they had for food, not toothbrushes.
Too bad those people don’t know these hacks for making your own toothbrush.
Option 1: Twig Toothbrush
In ancient times, people didn’t have toothbrushes. Instead, they’d get a small twig or branch and chew the end. When the end was adequately frayed, they’d use it to brush their teeth.
Option 2: Rag + Saltwater
If you are near the ocean, then you can use this method to make an emergency toothbrush.
Take a rag, dip it into the saltwater, and then use it to clean your teeth. The salt is a natural antibacterial. Plus, some people claim that it is better to rub your teeth than using a toothbrush.
What if You Run Out of Toothpaste?
Just because you don’t have any toothpaste, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush.
Here are some options. If you know of any other toothpaste alternatives, let us know in the comments!
- Baking Soda: Dip your toothbrush (or tooth stick) into the baking soda and brush regularly.
- Sea Salt: Sea salt is coarse and could cause abrasion. To prevent this, dissolve the sea salt in some water first and use this “brine” to brush your teeth.
- Coconut Oil or Olive Oil: Apparently, “oil pulling” is a big craze in the health world. The oil is supposed to draw toxins and bacteria out of your teeth and mouth. I tried it. I didn’t do it long enough to say whether it has benefits, though I can say it feels really weird to brush with oil!
- Non-Toxic Soap: I wasn’t sure about this one when I read it. However, soap will also create suds that will remove gunk from your teeth.
- Peppermint Oil: (Amazon link)Essential oils are a great thing to stockpile for your SHTF first aid kit. You can also make oil out of mint, which is one more reason to grow it in a Medicinal Survival Garden.
- Fire ash: Thanks to reader Stephen for this one. In the African bush, they use ash from the fire.
- Dry Brushing: If you really have nothing, brush your teeth without any toothpaste. It will get the gunk off of your teeth and help prevent infections and plaque. You won’t get that minty-clean feeling that comes with brushing, but it is better than nothing!
Have you made an emergency dental kit yet? What’s in yours?