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Survivor is currently in the midst of its 45th season. Having aired since 2000 and one of the most popular shows on TV still, the series brings together a group of castaways and splits them into two rival tribes as they try to survive while taking on different challenges. The series has had some wild episodes -- some of which have led to injuries like in the Season 44 premiere. However, perhaps one of the most wild elements of the proceedings is what the contestants do when they don’t have simple toiletries like toilet paper and a toothbrush. And now, we know just how the participants brush their teeth, thanks to a TikTok clip.
A veteran of two Survivor seasons, Michele Fitzgerald knows what it’s like to be without the simple ammenities in life. She was the Sole Survivor for Season 32, Kaôh Rōng, and returned for Season 40, Winners at War. Fitzgerald was a guest on the Zach Nichols Podcast, and GOHT Media posted a clip on TikTok in which she and the host discussed how contestants brushed their teeth. Short answer: They got creative. Fitzgerald explained:
I will say that there is a difference when you’re not eating anything. Like you’re not eating. But I didn’t even have… my first season didn’t even have rice. So rice definitely adds that sort of furry thing after. My second season, you just take a stick from somewhere, and you use the stick.
Considering Survivor has been on for 23 years, it’s interesting to find out after all this time what the contestants do to brush their teeth. It makes sense that they wouldn’t really have to think about it when they don’t normally eat a lot. However, a stick probably wouldn't be my first choice but, of course, they're pretty limited since they're in remote locations while competing. Funny enough, the practice tends to have an impact even when a person's time on the series is over:
What’s crazy is when you get home, I’d be sitting on a bench or something, and I’d see like a thing come up, and I’d grab it, and I’d put it in my mouth. Like, okay, I’m back in society. I don’t need to be doing that.
No matter how long you're in some place, you do start to acclimate to the surroundings. At some point, it seems that using a stick as a toothbrush was like second nature for Michele Fitzgerald. Coming home after working on a series such as that would probably be weird for anyone. Luckily, it sounds like she was able to push through and adjust. I really do admire the contestants on this show. Though they are paid, between the challenges, isolation, and not being able to properly bathe, they all deserve their flowers for taking part in the show.
At present, Season 45 has brought on some frustration. With the show’s episodes now being longer, challenge formats have had to be changed. Fans also gave their thoughts on the Lulu Tribe, and they didn't really like the direction they were heading in. Even after 45 seasons and 23 years, Survivor still manages to keep fans on their toes.
Now that fans are aware of how contestants brush their teeth, that may be a thought that remains in their minds as they watch episodes. But on the other hand, some many not put much stock into it moving forward and just chalk it up to the nature of the competition.
Survivor airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS as part of the 2023 TV schedule.