Oral Hygiene in Space

Oral Hygiene in Space

astronaut in space

As kids, many of us dreamed about becoming an astronaut, boldly exploring the new frontier of space. Astronauts are pioneers who approach new challenges with a sense of adventure and a solid grounding in science. Although the Today’s Dental team grew up to pursue a different type of scientific endeavor, helping our patients achieve and maintain oral health through dentistry, we approach our work with the same passion.

Blasting into this New Year has made us wonder… how do astronauts take care of their teeth in space? As we explored this question, we realized that each of us has the opportunity to make our morning routines out-of-this world. Here are a few things to consider, as you, or your NASA-bound kids, learn to brush like an astronaut:

Astronauts Take Oral Hygiene Seriously

If you’ve ever experienced the sudden and piercing pain of a toothache, you may have called your dentist’s office immediately. In space, your friendly dentist is more than a phone-call away. Astronauts assigned to the International Space Station spend, on average, six months in space. They take their oral hygiene seriously because—in the worst case scenario—a dental problem could lead to them returning to Earth prematurely. Registered dental hygienist, Andrea Kowalczyk, recounts some of the special dental considerations astronauts face in RDH magazine.

What’s in a Morning Routine

NASA shares that a typical morning routine in space includes brushing and flossing. Astronauts aren’t allowed to bring their electric toothbrush, or anything that requires recharging, without special permission so they use a standard toothbrush. Water in the International Space Station is recycled, so most astronauts brush and swallow their toothpaste, followed by a drink of water. Flossing sometimes takes a back seat to brushing, simply because waste storage is at a premium.

Watch a Professional Brush Teeth in Space

Reading about brushing in space is one thing, but watching the process gives you an entirely new appreciation for the tips and tricks astronauts employ in space. Watch this video to see International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield demonstrate how an astronaut brushes his or her teeth in space.

Whether you’re in Omaha or the outer limits, continue to make oral hygiene a priority. If astronauts can take a few minutes a day, we can take that one small step, too! Our Today’s Dental team is excited to schedule your next adventure with us at one of our three convenient locations.

We can't wait to meet you!