A Different Kind of Toothbrush

Oral health is simple to maintain when a local store has all the equipment you need. Getting a decent soft-bristled toothbrush, toothpaste, and maybe some floss and mouthwash might cost you as little as ten dollars or less and last for many months. Some countries don’t have that convenience, but oral health remains just as important. Fortunately, there are all-natural ways to maintain oral health when the tools we take for granted in Yuba City are not readily available.

Brush Your Teeth with a Tree!

Salvadora persica is known as the toothbrush or miswak tree. It is an evergreen shrub or tree with whitish bark and a crooked trunk, often found at ten feet to twenty feet in height. It is typically located in Saudi Arabia, India, and Egypt. The fruits are edible, the leaves are used in local salads and medicinal remedies, and the roots are carved into chew sticks, called the aforementioned miswak.

The fibrous root structure of the tree causes these sticks to become frayed at one end after a little chewing, like the bristles of a toothbrush. The other end is carved to a point and often used like a toothpick. People also enjoy the wood’s pleasant smell and strong taste. The toothbrush tree’s use as an oral hygiene product is verified by archaeological evidence going back thousands of years. Yet, how do we know miswak sticks do a good job at protecting oral health?

Miswak Supported by Science

Through multiple modern studies, results show that using miswak sticks three to ten times a day helps to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and plaque buildup. Miswak contains natural abrasives that assist with removing plaque — as well as chemicals that provide antiseptic, antibacterial, and even antidepressant qualities. In both 1986 and 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the use of miswak in an international consensus report on oral hygiene. Several toothpastes, mouthwashes and chewing gum products using miswak extract are available wherever the tree is found.

What About Here in the United States?

Ironically, the toothbrush tree is not easy to find in the US, even in our warmer locales. Unlike Africa or the Middle East, you won’t find a miswak tree growing in a park or on the side of a road. If you really want to try out miswak sticks, first consult with your dentist at the Yuba City Dentistry Group. Your dental situation might not be compatible with their use, or they might conflict with your current oral health routine.

Miswak sticks can be purchased online, but buying an imported product from an unknown retailer can sometimes lead to bad results. Do plenty of research. Find a reputable source if you want to try Salvadora persica.


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