Temporary Alternatives To Toothpaste: Michigan Family Dentist

Toothpaste is the ultimate cleaning solution for brushing your teeth, but you may not always have access to toothpaste when you need it. While we would never recommend using the alternatives below for permanent oral care, they may work as a temporary substitute when you don’t have access to conventional brushing options. Here are some potential tools and tricks you can use to clean your teeth without toothpaste.

Mouthwash And Breath Strips

This is the most obvious alternative to toothpaste, which is why we wanted to get it out of the way first. Some people keep a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash in their purse or vehicle to freshen their breath in between brushes. This is not as effective as toothpaste, but it is better than not cleaning your teeth at all. You could also use dissolvable breath strips if your main goal is to get rid of bad breath. Since these strips just sit on your tongue though, they won’t do much for food particles or other things shoved between your teeth.

Sugarless Chewing Gum

Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after you eat is a proven way to cleans your teeth and protect against tooth decay. The gum stimulates saliva production in your mouth, so your saliva can naturally clean your teeth for you. You may want to rinse your mouth out with water prior to chewing gum so you can get out large food particles that may get stuck inside the gum. Otherwise, pop a stick in your mouth and let your body do the rest.


Biting into a crisp apple will naturally clean your teeth because of the texture inside the fruit. The juiciness of apples encourages saliva production, which will naturally keep your mouth clean and reduce bacterial growth. Furthermore, apples are rich in Vitamin C, which helps strengthen your gums and protect the roots of your teeth. Kiwis and strawberries also contain high volumes of Vitamin C, but they won’t do as much for cleaning your teeth.

Soft Washcloth

You can rub a soft washcloth along the surface of your teeth to get rid of some plaque and staining. This would create the same effect as brushing your teeth with just a toothbrush on its own. Note that the washcloth may not do much for your tongue, which is where a lot of bad breath comes from. If you’re looking to freshen your breath rather than cleaning your teeth, you may be better with one of the other options above.