Losing a toothbrush for a single day isn't too much of an issue—as long as your teeth are in good condition. However, if for some reason you can't replace that toothbrush for several days, for instance, because you are camping in the wilderness, you can call on Mother Nature.

In fact, that's exactly what cave-dwelling prehistoric humans did long before toothbrushes and floss came along. When researcher, Karen Hardy examined the remains of some of the earliest human beings to be found in Europe, she discovered that they used small twigs to clean their teeth. But twigs aren't the only natural way to clean your teeth.

Chew Fibrous Fruits and Veggies

Foods that are naturally fibrous clean your teeth as you chew them, removing plaque from the surface of your teeth. This is important because plaque contains tooth decay-causing bacteria that damage your teeth as you sleep. Chew fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, carrots, cabbage and celery, then rinse your mouth out with water.

Eat Some Pineapple

Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain breaks down plaque, which makes it a great substitute for a toothbrush. Not only that, but it also helps to remove stains from your teeth.

Munch on Some Garlic, Onion or Basil

Although chewing raw garlic or onion will probably leave you crying your eyes out, they are both known to reduce bacteria. The same applies to basil, only basil is obviously a little less fiery. Since plaque is made of bacteria, chewing any one of these three will keep plaque formation to a minimum.

Snack on Some Nuts

Nuts are abrasive and so chewing a handful of sesame seeds, peanuts or cashew nuts will help to remove plaque from the surface of your teeth.

Do It the Very, Very Old Fashioned Way

Twigs, when prepared in the right way, are actually very effective at cleaning teeth. As well as prehistoric human beings, ancient cultures such as the Babylonians, Egyptians and Persians used twigs to clean their teeth. Today, twigs are still used throughout the world to clean teeth; however, you can't just pick any old bush or tree!

If you happen to be in the vicinity of the following fruit trees, grab yourself a chew stick.

  • Mango tree
  • Orange tree
  • Fig tree
  • Hazelnut tree
  • Silver birch
  • Lime tree
  • Dogwood
  • Tea tree
  • Cherry tree
  • Pear tree
  • Cranberry tree
  • Apple tree

To clean your teeth with one of these twigs, remove the bark from the end of the twig, then chew that end until it becomes frayed. You can then use that twig as a toothbrush to remove plaque and food debris from your teeth. But remember to be gentle!

For more tips on how to brush your teeth in a pinch, talk to a local dentist.