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Seven tips for cleaning your teeth without a toothbrush

It's happened to all of us at one time or another. You've just finished lunch and remember you have a meeting that afternoon, or perhaps a date with a friend after work. You want to look and feel your best, but you didn't remember to bring a toothbrush.

What can you do?

You know that healthy teeth and healthy gums require regular brushing and flossing. But in a pinch, here are a few things you can try:

Eat crunchy vegetables

Gnaw on some fresh celery, carrots, broccoli, or cucumbers. These foods can help scrape plaque from your teeth, removing some of the odor-causing bacteria. Plus, fresh veggies are good foods for teeth.

Nibble some cheese

Hard cheeses are low in sugar, so they don't contribute to bacteria growth in your mouth. Cheese also contains enzymes that help neutralize the bacteria that lead to bad breath.

Rinse your mouth with water

Yes, plain old water can help wash away any food particles left in your mouth. Swishing it around may also help loosen anything left between your teeth.

Use mouthwash

If you or a coworker happens to have some mouthwash handy, you can use it to help freshen your mouth. Just don't use it any longer than recommended because the chemicals may dry out your mouth, which can cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum

Sugarless chewing gum can help in two ways: it can loosen food particles stuck between your teeth, and it helps produce more saliva, which is what your mouth uses to naturally wash away bacteria.

Try "brushing" with a paper towel or cloth

Look for a piece of material you can use to brush your teeth. Make sure it isn't too rough or it may damage your enamel. Wet it with water, and if you happen to have toothpaste or mouthwash, use it with the cloth. Wrap it around your finger and brush, just as you would a toothbrush. Don't forget to wash your hands first.

Avoid any sugar

You already know that sugar of any kind, whether in candy, soda, or desserts is not good for your teeth. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and can also create bad breath. If you want to keep your breath fresh, don't eat or drink anything sugary.

You simply can't get truly clean teeth without brushing. It's the only way to get rid of all the bacteria and food particles in your mouth. But when you don't have a toothbrush handy, you can use these tips to help freshen up.

Think you know everything about proper brushing? Brush up on the latest tips for good technique by reading this article.

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