For most of us, the mention of the word toothpaste only conjures up memories of the state of our oral hygiene but that is not all that toothpaste can do. In fact, your ordinary toothpaste can become a very handy travel arsenal. Read on and find out why.

1. Bug Bite Relief

Honey is a priced commodity in Kenya and therefore most people tend to produce it in their homes. If you especially happen to stay in one of those rural or peri-urban home stays in eastern Kenya (Meru, Mwingi, Kitui), you are most likely going to be neighbours with a few colonies of bees.

If you are lucky, they will be in a Langstroth beehive which is safer. The Langstroth beehive was invented by the Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth in 1851 – October 30. It is the best thing to happen to bee farming in a while. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford one so some homes still use the traditional log beehive usually hung up a reasonably tall tree.

If that is the case, then you will quickly realise how your ordinary toothpaste comes in handy as a sting bite reliever in case you are stung. Just apply a bit of toothpaste on the affected area and you will be up and running in no time. It also works quite well for a range of other stings and bites. Mosquito, flea and ant bites work especially well.

2. Even out Scratches on CDs and DVDs

On one of your many safaris to Kenya, you may choose to while away the night after a marathon game drive by watching a film you may have picked from the local video library. But alas! You then realise, to your disappointment, that the film keeps freezing on you.

Well, if you have your handy toothpaste around, this should not be a problem. All you need to do is take out the disc, apply some toothpaste on the readable side, scrub and clean it off and hey presto! You will be watching your film in bliss.

3. Relief from Burns

Toothpaste can also be very good for burns – what with those isobutane-propane camping stoves we carry with us, one cannot be too careful. Right after you get burnt, apply to the burnt surface. It helps to relieve the sting.

4. Deodorise Smelly Hands

Toothpaste can be a reliable companion, especially if you are in one of those self-catering lodges and you have just whipped a romantic dinner for your better-half or family and you wake up the following morning to the all too familiar smell of onions, garlic and other strong-smelling ingredients from last night’s culinary adventure. Just wash with a dab of toothpaste and these smells will be gone!

5. Remove Beach Tar

Beach tar has a way of dulling an otherwise great romantic or reflective walk along the sandy beaches as you take in the captivating sceneries of the last shimmering rays of the African sun as it disappears into the horizon.

The presence of an ugly coat of black beach tar on your feet, although very rare on our beautiful beaches, is not a sight to behold. At this juncture, allow your good old toothpaste to come to your rescue. Apply some non-gel toothpaste to the affected areas and rinse.

6. Car Air Freshener

Long-distance road trips can get rather stuffy in the car, especially if you are many on such a trip. A good air freshener and an occasional opening of windows to let in fresh air usually do the trick. But in the event of an emergency and there are no air fresheners, a small amount of toothpaste placed on the centre of a paper towel and then rolled up may just save the day.

Placed under the seat when the car is left to heat up in the warm tropical sunshine, the toothpaste releases a nice soft mint smell into your car. How cool is that? Within minutes you have a cool mint freshener for your car.

These are the 6 we had. What other ways have you used toothpaste for? Do tell.