There are currently six people in space right now: three are the crew of the International Space Station and three others are on their way to join them. The current crew has been in space for over one hundred days! Seeing as there is no gravity, many of us may wonder how astronauts manage their personal hygiene. Of the most concern to us in the dental industry is tooth brushing in space.
First Things First: Water
It’s not quite so simple as when you brush your teeth at home! First off, there are no water faucets in space. In fact, water is extremely precious at the International Space Station and none of it goes to waste.
Astronauts use drink bags for water, which have a straw for easy dispensability, to moisten their toothbrushes. They then suck the excess water from their toothbrushes to stop it from floating away in zero gravity.
Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
Speaking of toothbrushes! A space toothbrush is just a standard
toothbrush, base and bristles. Hopefully our outer-space adventurers remembered to choose soft-bristled toothbrushes!
Meanwhile, their toothpaste tubes have their caps attached. No need to worry about misplacing the cap in zero gravity. In order to avoid problems with waste, NASA developed foamless, ingestible toothpaste called NASAdent. Astronauts can use standard issue toothpaste, but many use toothpaste of the edible variety to reduce water consumption.
Brush away! Just like us, astronauts are careful to brush all the surfaces of
their teeth. Astronauts then fill their mouths with water, swish and swallow. They also clean their toothbrushes with another dollop of water from their drink bags, suck the water away, dry their toothbrush, and return it to their hygiene kits.
And just like us, astronauts have to take care of their teeth. Whether or not you aspire to be an astronaut, make sure you come to Apple Springs Family Dentistry twice a year for a cleaning and check-up!