How Do Astronauts Keep Their Teeth Clean?

astronaut floating in space, space station the background

Being healthy is an important part of being an astronaut. Just think: traveling is already hard on the body so imagine traveling to and from space on a trip that lasts months! So when it comes to dental health, have you ever wondered how astronauts keep their teeth clean when they’re in space?

No Waste

Since there’s no good way to dispose of waste in space, astronauts use lots of chewable and edible products to clean their teeth. Everything has to be ingestible, because there’s no regular garbage. Instead of spitting out their toothpaste, astronauts swallow it, because there’s nowhere for the spit to go!

Sticky Walls

Astronauts need to keep everything attached to the wall with their toothpaste and toothbrush inside. And the toothpaste can’t have any caps, because they would float away! Everything has to be tethered and connected to something else. There are velcro dots on the walls for sticking things like toothpaste, so the tube doesn’t float up and away.

The Nitty-Gritty

Here’s how to brush your teeth in space:

1. First, fill a bag with water. Tether it to the wall so it doesn’t float away. Then take out your hygiene kit and remove your toothbrush and toothpaste tube. Make sure to close bag so nothing floats away.

2. Take your drink bag (which is full of water), and squeeze out a bead of water onto your toothbrush and watch the bristles suck it up. Then clamp the bag back up. Squeeze out a drop of toothpaste onto the toothbrush.

3. Brush your teeth like normal.

4. When you’re done brushing, don’t spit! Unlike back home on earth, there’s no place for waste to go, so you have to swallow the toothpaste. Rinse out your brush with a drop of water (sucking this out as well), then dry your toothbrush and put it back in your toiletry bag.

Well, there you have it: how to clean your teeth in space. Sure makes it seem a lot easier to do at home now doesn’t it?

If you’d like to talk to someone about your dental health, call our friendly team today at one of our convenient locations.


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