Here’s How Astronauts Clean Their Teeth In Outer Space!
Becoming an astronaut: it’s a childhood dream for many, but only a handful of the very best and brightest ever make it into space. At any given time, there are less than a dozen people in Space.
However, once you’ve made it out of the stratosphere, that’s not the end of the story.
Up in Space, astronauts have to live just like the rest of us. The only difference is that they don’t have gravity to fall back on.
Since everything is literally turned on its head while you are floating about, even the tiniest of everyday tasks become a challenge that needs to be solved.
Astronauts need to stay clean, but how they go about that is a lot different to the way we do things here on Earth. Even brushing your teeth in space is turned into an incredibly precise process- so let’s take a look at how astronauts do it!
The first thing that they need to think about is water. When you’re up in space, you cannot just turn on a faucet, since the water droplets would fly everywhere.
Moreover, every resource is incredibly valuable when inside a space station, and water is the essential commodity for survival after air.
For that reason, every drop of water is treated like solid gold, and none of it is wasted.
Astronauts get around the problem of zero-gravity by drinking water from bags with a straw. They have to carefully use a sip of this water to moisten their toothbrush, and then suck up any excess to stop the drops floating away.
Just like that episode of The Simpsons, any floating debris could “clog the instruments,” so it’s vital that the astronauts don’t leave water floating about around them. It might only take you a second to moisten your toothbrush here on Earth, but you can’t accept anything for granted when you’re up in space!
As for the toothbrushes themselves, we’re sad to say that there’s no such thing as a space-age toothbrush- even outer space adventurers use the same sort of toothbrushes as you or I do. The toothpaste tube is a different matter, altogether.
You couldn’t just leave the cap on the sink while you squirt the paste onto your brush since it would just float away, and you’d have to chase after it. Instead, only toothpaste tubes with an attached cap are allowed in space. While astronauts are free to choose their preferred brand of toothpaste, NASA has created their own, foamless blend that’s easier to ingest, and which produces less waste. It has the imaginative name “NASAdent,” and most astronauts choose this option because it helps them to keep their water consumption down.
Once they’ve finally got the toothpaste onto their brush and captured any stray drops of water, astronauts then brush their teeth, as usual, making sure to clean the whole surface of their teeth. They then take a sip of water to wash the pastedown, rinse off their brushes with one more sip and then suck the water up off them.
Their toothbrush is then stored carefully in their hygiene kits, ready for next time. So next time you go to brush your teeth, be thankful you have a more comfortable job of it than them- now there’s no excuse not to keep your teeth nice and clean!