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in the backcountry, toothpaste can be part of your first aid and kitchen kitsYou probably use toothpaste to brush your teeth--a perfectly reasonable use of the stuff. But did you know that it's the answer to a number of backcountry first aid and personal hygiene challenges? Toothpaste can be used to treat any oozy skin irritations like bug bites, athlete's foot and even blisters. It;s a disinfectant, antiseptic and fungicide. Toothpaste will stop itching and reduce swelling when applied topically. It dries up blisters if applied before bed, healing you while you sleep. It cools and soothes minor burns if applied immediately after they happen. Have a zit from too many days without a shower? A dot of toothpaste left on overnight will shrink it. Hands stinky from chopping garlic, rub them with a little toothpaste. Stepped in tar--rub it off with a little toothpaste. And when you're stuck in the tent or taking a rest day, don't forget how useful toothpaste is for a backcountry manicure. For clean, shiny, strong nails, brush them with you know what.