Colgate Wisp

{Single-use toothbrushes that let you brush without water}

Anyone who has traveled to a developing country will understand the rigmarole that is teeth-brushing. Because tap water is often unsafe to drink, it’s generally unwise to use that water for cleaning your teeth since although you’ll be spitting, at least a part of what gets into your mouth might be absorbed into your system. So that means either boiling water for the purpose of brushing, or using the bottled variety. And then there’s trying to rinse without wasting a ton of precious bottled water by pouring it into your hands, or worse, backwashing into the bottle. Ewww? Exactly.

But what do you do if you only have limited access to safe water? Like if you’re on a long train journey, have an extended layover at an airport, are out on a hiking trip, or have arrived somewhere at night when all the shops are closed?

One option is the Colgate Wisp, a mini disposable toothbrush about three inches long that allows you to brush without any water at all. On one end is a toothpick and on the other is a little brush with a “freshness bead” that bursts to release some minty liquid as you brush. The Wisp doesn’t foam up like regular toothpaste and you’re meant to just swallow the liquid that ensues – something that doesn’t quite gel with my own sensibilities but might work for others.

Another possibility (which granted won’t actually get your teeth clean but will give you the minty fresh feeling) are Listerine PocketPaks, which are essentially thin breath strips that dissolve in your mouth and kill bad breath germs. I like them better than regular mints for the purpose since they’re sugar-free so you’re not actually making the dirty teeth situation worse!

Of course, neither of these products are really replacements for proper brushing, but they’re definitely handy for travelers in a pinch.

What do you think? Do you have any other tips for maintaining oral hygiene on the road? 


Listerine PocketPaks

{Breath strips at least let you feel like you’re mouth is clean}