Toothbrushes Do Grow on Trees

 In Toothbrushes

If you live in America, you probably have never brushed your teeth with a twig. But for many in the Middle East and other areas in the world this is a normal ritual, and it would be strange for them to brush their teeth with our plastic toothbrushes.

Miswak is made from the Salvadora persica tree and is a traditional way for cleansing teeth in the Middle East and now also in South and Southeast Asia. Many Muslims use miswak since Muhammad recommended its use for cleansing and purification before prayer and during Ramadan. Dentists at the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia studied miswak and concluded that the benefits of miskwak for oral hygiene are equal to, if not greater than those of toothpaste and a toothbrush.

The fun part of toothbrushes is you make it yourself. You bite off the end of the twig and chew on that end until fibers appear. Then the end softened by dipping it in water, and then it is ready to be used as a toothbrush. Since the bristles are parallel to the handle, unlike perpendicular bristles on a toothbrush, it can reach easily between the teeth.  There is also a toothpaste made from miswak extract that you can find in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America.

Miswak has natural antiseptics that prevents bacterial growth that lead to dental caries. It also has tannic acids which protect you from gum disease. It stops plaque buildup, improves oral health and freshens the breath. The Salvadora persica extract has been shown in studies to be comparable to oral disinfectants and anti-plaque products like Triclosan if used in a high concentration.

In America it isn’t easy to find a miswak tree, but if you are ever in the Middle East or Asia, give it a try and see what you think. For now, don’t forget to brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles and a toothpaste with fluoride. Contact Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental to learn more about proper dental care.

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