Many folks on Earth regard tooth brushing as a chore. But just how do astronauts on the space station brush their teeth in zero gravity? Imagine nothing to hold you down, and no running water with a sink to spit in after you finish. With no water how do you even get the toothbrush wet? Does some of the toothpaste go up your nose? When you’re finished, just what do you do with the foam in your mouth? We take gravity for granted, and the lack of gravity puts a whole new twist on the old brush-rinse-repeat steps we’ve come to know.
In this clever video, Commander Chris Hadfield, discusses and demonstrates the
nuances of teeth brushing while on the International Space Station
Of course, this didn’t stop researchers from creating high-tech dental hygiene methods for space. NASA came up with toothpaste that acts like gum. Completely chewable, the product essentially cleanses the teeth without water or tooth brushing. In the 60s, non-foaming and ingestible toothpaste called NASAdent™ was part of every astronaut’s personal hygiene kit.
But for the most part, oral hygiene on the Space Station is pretty low tech. For one, they use a standard toothbrush, one you could purchase at any drugstore. Also astronauts use the same Crest or Colgate brand you’d find in any home. When it comes to the actual tooth brushing, the astronauts are just like us, except in one important way. For the gravity-challenged astronauts, they must master techniques to keep the toothpaste in their mouths while brushing. Another challenging technique, carefully executed, is cleaning their toothbrush once they’re done.
Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790