An impromptu sleepover, a poorly packed travel bag, brushes suddenly more horizontal than vertical; we’ve all been there when our toothbrush has deserted us in our time of most need. Fortunately, there are ways to get that quick refresh and clean mouth feel without one. So, whether you’re a cosmetic dentist in Edinburgh or a regular Joe anywhere in the world, with the help of celebrity dentist Dr Richard Marques, here are 5 IDEAL ways to clean your teeth when you don’t have a toothbrush.


The simplest thing to do for a quick clean is swish some fresh water around your mouth and spit it out. Easy, peasy. This will loosen up surface debris on the teeth, in doing so reducing the buildup of plaque. If you want to go the extra mile and happen to have some coconut oil to hand, swill a teaspoon of coconut oil round your mouth for at least 15 (yep, 15) minutes, this helps lift toxins from the mouth and whiten teeth at the same time. Result.


Wrap a piece of paper towel or clean cloth around your finger, dampen with water and rub along your teeth. This helps remove the detritus of the day in the same style as a brush. If you have toothpaste or mouthwash, then, of course, add a drop of that too.


Chew some sugar-free gum to help stimulate the production of saliva in the mouth. This will help to neutralise acids and freshen your breath. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency pack in the bottom of your bag at all times, just in case. 


Avoid consuming anything with sugar if you anticipate a time approaching with no toothbrush, as it feeds on the bacteria in your mouth and turns acidic. These acids can eat away at tooth enamel and lead to more long-term problems. Indeed, according to Edinburgh emergency dentists who are all about preventative dentistry, watching what you eat can help prevent tooth erosion

Snack on some crunchy vegetables such as celery or cucumber to help gently budge plaque from teeth and remove the bacteria that cause bad odours. Hard cheeses actually contain enzymes that neutralise odour-causing bacteria, so eating a small cube will lessen the spread of bacteria in your mouth. A great excuse to enjoy some, we think.


Yep, your finger will do just fine. If available, mix a small amount of baking soda with water and rub it gently on your teeth. This will help remove surface stains, whitening the teeth and removing excess food particles.