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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Did you miswaak your teeth today?

The sentence should be 'Did you brush your teeth today?', but I replaced it with the 'miswaak' a natural tooth brush. This article is about introduction and importance of this 'natural dental health tool'.

Nature has provided us with a wonderful solution to effectively and safely maintain dental health and oral hygiene. This natural toothbrush is called ‘Miswak’, derived from natural resource ‘tree’. Miswak is called natural chewing stick or natural toothbrush because it is composed of a compact group of minute natural fibres that perform exactly the same function as a normal toothbrush except that it is made of natural rather than plastic fibres.

The best source of the miswak is the root of the arak tree (salvadora persica), more commonly known as the 'toothbrush tree'. The arak grows in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Southern Egypt, Chad and Eastern parts of India. This natural toothbrush comes from wide variety of trees and bushes, though the most popular form is called Miswak, the root of the ‘peelu tree’. It is the green way to promote healthy teeth with a brush that is biodegradable, affordable, and vegan-friendly.

Miswak has thousands of years of proven history behind its usage. The Miswak was known before Islam, but Islam added a religious perspective to its usage. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recommended Muslims to clean their teeth using a Miswak every day; especially upon waking up, when performing ablution, before prayer, when reciting the Quran, before sleeping, when entering the house, and when the mouth has a foul odor. There are many Prophetic narrations that talk about Miswak.

Dental health benefits of miswak:

Miswak contains nutrients and minerals that are essential to good oral hygiene. Chemical analysis reveals that it contains a total of 19 natural substances which are beneficial to dental health. Few of these natural chemical compounds are fluoride, silica, tannic acid, resins, alkaloids (salvadorine), volatile oils (sinigrin), sulfur, vitamin C, sodium bicarbonate, chlorides, calcium, benzylisothiocyanate (BIT), and others including salicylic acids, sterols, tri-methylamine, saponins, flavenoids.

Its natural antiseptics have a bactericidal action, killing harmful micro-organisms in the mouth, the tannic acid it contains has astringent qualities which protect the gums from disease, and its aromatic oils increase salivation. Because of its built-in antiseptics, the miswak needs no cleaning, and because its bristles are parallel to the handle rather than perpendicular, it can reach more easily between the teeth, where a conventional toothbrush often misses.

Research indicates that Miswak suppresses decay causing bacteria, gingivitis and plaque formation among many other benefits which are:

Health benefits of miswak:

  • Helps remove stains
  • It is natural teeth whitener
  • Protects teeth against caries
  • Have bactericidal and antiseptic properties
  • Heals and repairs tissues,
  • Promotes re-mineralization (building) of tooth enamel
  • Give the pleasant taste and smell.
  • Kills bacteria that causes gum disease
  • Fights plaque effectively.
  • Helps reduce tooth decay
  • Effectively cleans between teeth due to its parallel bristles
  • Increases salivation and hence inhibits dry mouth

The World Health Organization recommends the use of the miswak in international consensus reports on oral hygiene published in 1986 and in 2000. A 2003 study published in "Oral Health and Preventative Dentistry" concluded that miswak is more effective than tooth brushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis provided it is used with proper instructions.
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