With your stash of water and non-perishable food, you won’t starve to death.
Home invaders also won’t be a match for you thanks to your solid self-defense skills.
Heck, you’ve even made your own Faraday cage to brace for an EMP attack.
But did you care to prep for oral health dilemmas? No bug in or bug out plan would be complete without an emergency dental kit.
Here’s why you need one and what you should add to it:
Why Do You Need an Emergency Dental Kit?
When prepping for SHTF, no one thinks twice about packing a first aid kit. A number of folks even have Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs) to rescue them in case they sustain a life-threatening injury.
We can’t deny that the two are important, but it’s alarming that many overlook an emergency dental kit.
When you don’t factor in oral health as you stockpile survival supplies and gear, don’t be surprised if you have to deal with issues like:
- Extreme toothaches
These, in turn, can cause:
…and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Good luck finding a dentist who can help you with these when SHTF. You’ll be on your own, pal.
So while you do need to defend your home from intruders, don’t let dental care take a backseat. Otherwise, you’ll be left weak, distracted, and possibly in pain when you need to be at peak alertness.
See why having an emergency dental kit is essential? If you’re smart and want to prevent oral problems during a wide-scale disaster, here are the items you need:
What Should Your Emergency Dental Kit Include?
Your emergency dental kit should cover basic oral hygiene as well as emergencies like toothaches, lost fillings or crowns, and knocked-out teeth. Make sure you have the following supplies:
You have to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, as recommended by the American Dental Association). After a while, the bristles will start fraying. Continued use will hurt your gums, cause more bacteria buildup in your mouth, and prevent effective cleaning.
It’s ideal to squirrel away toothbrushes for the entire household in case things don’t get back to normal right away. Most folks would probably empty the aisles for snacks and canned goods before they even think of dental care, but it won’t hurt to have a stash ready to avoid the horde.
If you can’t find a toothbrush, you can put toothpaste on your finger and use that to clean your teeth. You can use a microfiber cloth, too, if you find one lying around.
You also need to stockpile toothpaste. But take note: it has a lifespan of 2 years. While it’s safe to use a tube past its end date, its ingredients won’t work as effectively, so check your supply every year.
If you happen to run out of toothpaste, use ingredients you already have at home as alternatives:
- Baking soda
- Olive or coconut oil
- Sea salt (watch out, though, because it’s abrasive)
Of course, you can always do dry brushing. As the name suggests, it means brushing your teeth without water or toothpaste. Just your good old toothbrush. Now, the minty freshness you love won’t be present, but at least your teeth will stay clean.
It’s easier to get rid of the gunk in your teeth using dental floss—not to mention safer. While toothpicks are fine when you’re in a pickle, they can stab your gums if you aren’t careful.
Floss also comes in during survival scenarios. It doubles as a rig for a tripwire, hand restraints for self-defense, and makeshift shoelaces.
These are must-haves for any medical kit, whether for dental emergencies or first aid. Analgesics like Ibuprofen can make your toothache more manageable, so stash a few in your emergency dental kit.
Now, these are only examples. If you want to pack pain relievers that are suitable for you, consult with your doctor.
Solutions like Benzocaine make a quick cure for toothaches, canker sores, and gum pain, even if the effects are temporary. Try not to rely on it so much, though, since it comes in tiny packaging. You’re also not supposed to use it on kids under two.
To be safe, ask your doctor or dentist for an oral antiseptic they recommend.
It’s also smart to have a supply of clove oil on top of the painkillers you buy over the counter. This oil is a natural anesthetic and antifungal, thanks to an ingredient called eugenol. Folks have used it for centuries to treat tooth pain.
One thing to keep in mind: you can’t use a whole clove on its own for your mouth.
You have to combine the clove with something like coconut oil so your mouth won’t get irritated when you apply it to your pearly whites. Luckily for your sake, diluted and preformulated versions exist online and at your local supermarket.
Penlight and Dental Mirror
Having a dental wound isn’t the same as having one on your arm. No matter how wide you tell someone to open their mouth, it won’t make a difference if the pain is coming all the way from the back.
A penlight and dental mirror will help you see the lesions in the mouth better.
Temporary Filling Material
If you’ve ever had a filling fall out, you know how intense the throbbing can get in the tooth tissue it protected. That’s because it’s extra sensitive to the elements. Drinking something too hot or cold or eating sweets will make your mouth protest in agony. With pain that excruciating, you’ll find it tough to do even the most basic activities.
Since you obviously can’t run to your dentist to reapply your filling during SHTF, you’ll need to make do with a temporary filling material. Here are three options to add to your emergency dental kit:
Dental cement is a must for your emergency dental kit if you need a quick and effective way to repair caps, bridges, and crowns. How you’ll apply it depends on the type you bought.
If your cement is in powder form, you’ll need to mix it with liquid (some come with it). Check its label for the powder-to-liquid ratio. After it’s mixed, apply it to your cap, bridge, or crown and then stick it on your tooth. Keep in mind that you’ll have to let the cement set for a few minutes.
Dental cement is also available as a paste or putty. These are easier to use than the powder variety, but read the instructions before you add the cement.
Remember dental wax, your old friend from your braces days? This wax protects you from cuts to your tongue and inner cheeks, so it won’t only come in handy for metal mouths. You can also use it on the edges of chipped-off teeth.
Petroleum jelly is a jack of all trades, which is why you can find it in many preppers’ survival kits. It doesn’t just deal with chapped lips; it can also help with cavities and other dental issues.
A cavity acts up sometimes because the inner part of the teeth is exposed. That inner part has tiny pores. Now when you apply a layer of petroleum jelly to the cavity, it seals those pores temporarily—stopping the pain.
You’ll have to reapply it once the pain comes back, but it’s best to ask your dentist for their advice.
Want to avoid infecting the inside of your mouth with germs from your fingers? Then wear gloves whenever you fix a dental cap, insert a cotton pellet, or apply a cream to your tooth.
But make sure to be careful with the type of gloves you use — latex can cause an allergic reaction for some people. If you want to be safe, go for vinyl or nitrile gloves instead. Don’t forget to sterilize them before putting them in your mouth (or someone else’s mouth). Soaking them in boiling water will do the trick.
Cotton rolls and pellets are staples in your dentist’s clinic, and that’s gonna be the same for your kit. You’ll need cotton to dab ointment on your teeth. Plus, if a tooth or your gums start bleeding, pressing some cotton against it can keep the blood from gushing.
“Where There Is No Dentist” by Murray Dickson
If you’re looking for a crash course on dentistry, this book is it. Though originally meant for medical workers who volunteered in Africa, it’s packed with information that will also be useful during SHTF — like how to remove a tooth, determine if you have an abscess, and more.
Sure, you can use the internet to learn these, but if the grid goes down, you’ll be glad this book is part of your kit.
Extra Things to Add to Your Emergency Dental Kit
Here are other things to include in your kit:
- Cotton buds
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Dental caps
- Suture kit (ex. forceps, suture scissors, and suture thread)
- Dental extraction kit
Take note that the last two items will need special training, so buy them only if you have the skills or are willing to learn. You can actually practice with kits like these.
Also, if someone in your household has braces, dentures, or other dental devices, don’t forget their needs, too.
You may want to consult your dentist about this, or your emergency dental kit as a whole, really. After all, they’re the teeth experts. Their insight can help you build a kit that’s fully tailored for your family.
Think about that time you landed in the dentist’s clinic for a major toothache. Now think about having one during SHTF, when dentists will be hard to find. How well do you think you’ll fare?
Without an emergency dental kit, the outcome is bleak.
Prep one as early as today to maintain your brushing and flossing routine and to prevent potential problems from turning worse.
Anything else that should belong on an emergency dental kit? Tell us in the comments!