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Chewing Stick, Yesterdays Toothbrush

Many of us use an Electronic toothbrush or a Regular Manual toothbrush; however in some parts of the world, its’ citizen use a different device as a toothbrush. In West Africa there is a tree with antimicrobial properties. Can you imagine brushing your teeth with a twig? Well believe or not, people from Africa, Middle East and parts of Asia, used a Miswak twig to clean their teeth.

Past Use – History

Chewing sticks have been used for thousands of years. These were once used by Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Let’s keep in mind that these nations once ruled the world, they had the best technologies, medical advancements and knowledge of their time. If these past super nations considered a Miswak stick a worthy tool for cleaning their teeth is because they found many oral health benefits in them.

This method of cleaning teeth might sound outdated or an alien thing for the Western World; however the chewing stick has a wide variety of oral health benefits. It is still popular today, it is not weird to see people in parts of Africa, Asia and Middle East, with a stick in their mouth; similar to Western citizen carrying a toothpick.

Studies and test made on Miswak have proven that this twig is more than just a tool use to scrub our teeth; it actually contains several oral properties and can provide its users a variety of dental benefits.

Now, the question is: why would anyone think of using a tree twig to clean their teeth?

Well, let’s keep in mind that the first bristle toothbrush, resembling the modern toothbrush, was found in China in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). However, the modern day toothbrush was not mass produce until 18th century. The problem is that tooth decay, cavities, gum disease have existed since the beginning of human history; to prevent oral diseases civilizations used chewing sticks. Some have compared Regular Toothbrush or a Mechanical Toothbrush against the Miswak, the chewing stick prove to have more advantages than those that meet the eye.

Miswak Oral Health Advantage and Benefits

Miswak oral health advantage and benefits include:

  • Kills bacteria
  • Prevent cavities
  • Fight plaque
  • No more bad breath or disgusting odors
  • Prevent dry mouth (Xerostomia)
  • Lower cost
  • No need of toothpaste
  • Among others

Researches have study the Miswakfor years, for example the Wrigley Company conducted a study on the chewing stick which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2007. Among the results Wrigley’s researched concluded that the mints found in Miswak are 20 times stronger than ordinary mints.

Other studies made on the Miswak twig demonstrated that the chewing stick is more effecting in removing and reducing plaque and gingivitis than a manual toothbrush, when use correctly.

Due to the antiseptic properties this tree has, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the usage of the chewing stick. Another advantage is that the constant chewing will increase the flow of saliva, preventing dry mouth. Regarding maintenance cost, the cost are greatly reduce because you will not need to purchase toothpaste, chewing sticks cost a fraction of the cost a mechanical toothbrush does.

Sani Dental Group can provide you additional information. If you have questions or would like to know whether a chewing stick is an appropriate option for you, contact us. Call toll free 1-855-SANI-DDS or (928) 257-1307 and make an appointment.