If a tooth gets knocked out, experts recommend you store it in a glass of milk until you can get to a dentist. And, for many people, that's a convenient solution, as milk is something they probably have in the house anyway.
But what if you don't have access to milk? Maybe you're vegan or lactose intolerant, or you've simply run out of milk. Maybe you're not even at home, and you're far away from anywhere you could buy some.
While milk is generally recommended as the ideal substance for keeping a tooth safe, there are some alternatives to help you save the tooth and have it successfully reinserted by a dentist.
Keep it in your mouth
If you're able to reinsert the tooth into the socket and hold it in place, it really increases the chances of saving it. To keep it where it should be, you can hold it with your tongue, or bite down gently on a cloth to stop the tooth from moving. However you do it, just keep it in your mouth and try not to panic. If you can't keep it in the socket, just hold the tooth in your mouth, preferably next to your cheek, to keep it safe and moist.
The next best thing to keeping the tooth in your mouth is to put it in a container and cover it in saliva. Of course, this might be easier said than done if you've just had a tooth knocked out, but try and produce as much saliva as you can so the tooth is well covered. Make sure the container is clean beforehand by rinsing it with some water; don't use any cleaning products.
One of the most important things to do is keep the tooth moist, so simple water will do if you don't have any other choice. Tap water will do the trick but filtered or bottled water is better. Don't be tempted to add anything to it in the hopes it will be more effective. Even salt water can be really damaging to the tooth and reduce the chance of successful reinsertion.
Buy a product for this purpose
Nowadays, there are products manufactured specifically for storing lost teeth in. They're formulated to have the ideal pH and other characteristics needed to keep teeth safe. Obviously, this needs a bit of advance planning, as you're unlikely to find some in a hurry otherwise, but it's worth keeping some in stock, particularly if you play sports where mouth injuries are a risk.