Dental Gear to Bring While Hiking

If you’ve ever been hiking, you know that every little bit of space matters in your hiking pack, so there’s never room to spare for “extra” things.

This is especially true for multi-day hikes where you absolutely cannot sacrifice even the smallest ounce of space. If anything, your pack starts collecting carabiners holding onto other things like water bottles, flip flops, and even snack bags.

So when you need extra food, it goes in your pockets. Or you learn to do without. Or forage. Or even sacrifice other important gear because you need your food. That’s what it’s all about, sacrifice. It’s the name of the game.

But what about your hygiene? Everyone knows that water filters are essential for hiking and getting clean water for drinking, washing, and the likes. How about your dental hygiene? What are you supposed to take when you’re on the trail?

Travel toothpaste

This is small and inconspicuous enough to fit in your pack. I’d only suggest bringing this if you’re hiking for multiple days at a time (3+ days).

Flossing picks

While toothpicks would get the job done better on fewer days hiking, these may come in handy if you’re hiking for up to a week or more (think the Appalachian Trail). After a handful of days, your teeth desperately need real flossing, so these are relatively small enough to fit in a tiny dental pack that should be fine in your hiking pack.

Water!

Water is going to be the most important thing you have available while hiking for more reasons than your dental hygiene (and general hygiene). You’ll need it to drink multiple times a day for your own thirst and health. You’ll need it to keep clean, wash anything off of you, and keep your clothes clean. You’ll need it for cooking and for coffee or anything else you may have in the morning.

Basically, water is of the utmost importance when you’re out in survival mode in the wilderness. So, water filters and some sort of hiking stove are incredibly essential if you’re going to rough it out in the wilderness on your own. There is no substitute to a good water filter and a great and compact travel stove. Don’t shirk on either of these items when you’re out shopping for gear, because they’re two of the most important things in your entire pack if you want to keep fed and quenched throughout your hiking trip.

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How To Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body. The immune system recognizes damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens, and it begins the healing process. Without inflammation, wounds would fester and infections could become deadly. Inflammation can also be problematic, though, and it plays a role in some chronic diseases.

Which Foods Cause Inflammation?

Research shows that a significant contributor to chronic inflammation comes from what we eat, and you’ll soon find that many of the following inflammatory foods have a place in your diet. When you eat them daily, you’ll constantly be turning on your body’s alarm system. Because your immune system alarm is never disarmed, over time, this incessant inflammatory response can lead to weight gain, drowsiness, skin problems, digestive issues, and a host of diseases, from diabetes to obesity to cancer. See the lists below for an overview of foods that keep inflammation smoldering:

  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Refined Grains
  • Grain-Fed Meat
  • Tropical Fruits
  • Bad Fats

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

In a nutshell, anti-inflammatory foods are those that any mainstream nutrition expert would encourage you to eat. They include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices. Go for variety and lots of color. Research has shown that vitamin K-rich leafy greens like spinach and kale curb inflammation, as does broccoli and cabbage. And the substance that gives fruits like cherries, raspberries, and blackberries their color is a type of pigment that also helps fight inflammation.

Other Considerations of Inflammation

Arteries dilate, blood flow increases, and capillaries become more permeable so that white blood cells, hormones and nutrients can move into the spaces between cells. White blood cells swarm the injured area and ingest germs, dead or damaged cells and other foreign materials to help heal the body, Walker said. Hormones called prostaglandins create blood clots to try to heal the damaged tissue and remove them when healing is finished; they also trigger pain and fever as part of the healing process. Swelling happens because fluid accompanies the white blood cells, hormones and nutrients. “The fluid diffuses into the area and causes the swelling that can cause increased pressure to nerve endings and pain,” Walker said. Pus is an accumulation of white blood cells that have died after ingesting the threatening materials and the way the body expels those no-longer-needed cells.

Supplements and Inflammation

  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol
  • Omega-3
  • Blend of nutrients and amino acids
  • Seed oil of gamma-linolenic acid

Inflammation and the Mouth

Inflammation (also known as swelling) is a normal reaction your body may have to an injury. It can affect many parts of your body, including your mouth. At first, inflammation helps to heal the body or injured area. However, if your body is unable to repair itself and return to normal, you may experience some problems in addition to the inflammation. Most inflammation of the mouth is caused by injuries to your mouth. Common examples include:

  • Burns
  • Cheek, tongue, or lip bites
  • Cuts from crunchy food
  • Sores caused by poorly fitting dentures

Mouth inflammation can also be caused by an allergic reaction to a type of toothpaste or mouthwash, as well as infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Inflammation may even be a sign of cancer or other diseases. Mouth sores and inflammation (stomatitis) vary in appearance and size and can affect any part of the mouth, including the lips. People may have swelling and redness of the lining of the mouth or individual, painful ulcers. An ulcer is a hole that forms in the lining of the mouth when the top layer of cells breaks down. Many ulcers appear red, but some are white because of dead cells and food debris inside the center portion.