Makeshift Oral Hygiene

Makeshift Oral Hygiene

A few years ago my wife dragged me to the movie Shakespeare In Love.  I don’t remember much about the movie but I do remember one thing the filmmakers showed that was very interesting.  They showed the Elizabethan version of a toothbrush which is basically a stick with one of the ends roughed up.  Recently I came across a description of how to make that primitive toothbrush in FM 21-75, Combat Skills Of The Soldier.  In good old state-the-obvious Army style the description goes point out that “twigs can also be used for toothpicks.”  Here’s hoping you don’t have to resort to makeshift oral hygiene…


Regular and proper cleaning of the mouth and the teeth helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.  The most healthful oral hygiene is to clean your mouth and teeth thoroughly and correctly after each meal with a toothbrush and toothpaste.  If a toothbrush is not available, cut a twig from a tree and fray it on one end to serve as a toothbrush.  If mouthwash is available, use it to help kill germs in your mouth. To help remove food from between your teeth, use dental floss or toothpicks.  Twigs can also be used for toothpicks.

FM 21-75, Combat Skills of the Soldier; Approved for public release, distribution is unlimited

Make A Toothbrush

Just make sure to avoid poison oak and poison sumac!

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