The kind of toothbrush we all have in our bathrooms was invented in 1938. Previously, from about 1498, boar bristles attached to bamboo or bone handles were used.
But what came before that? Answer: The miswak.
I have only been aware of the miswak for a year or so, and it took me this long to finally break down and buy one. Of all the areas in my life I’ve tried to switch to more traditional roots, an alternative to my toothbrush wasn’t a high priority. In fact I liked how my teeth cleaner worked.
And then, like everything else, I researched.
This natural stick, which is actually a length of root from the Peelu tree, is a natural and more effective toothbrush than your typical plastic and nylon kind.
Beyond the miswak not being synthetic, which is enough reason for me to try it, it actually kills bacteria and fights plaque. On it’s own. With no toothpaste. This of course leads to fewer cavities and fresher breath.
What Does Science Say?
I admit I was skeptical. To hear of a natural toothbrush to not only replace my plastic one, but to not even need toothpaste (or floss?) – and then to learn that it kills bacteria and whitens teeth? Sounded too good to be true.
Then I came across this clinical study. The purpose of this study was to “compare the effect of the chewing stick (miswak), and toothbrushing on plaque removal and gingival health.” The results? “Compared to toothbrushing, the use of the miswak resulted in significant reductions in plaque.”
The study concluded the miswak is more effective than toothbrushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis.
Nothing holding me back, I marched right over to amazon where I bought a miswak.
It was fun when the package came and I asked my family (and friends) what this stick-looking thing actually was. They were all surprised it was a toothbrush. Just another thing to add to the list of what Lea does that is not normal!
You do have to use a peeler (or knife if you’re handy that way) to scrape off about 1/2 inch of the bark away. Then you chew on it until the fibers separate, and you can get right to work. At first some of the outer fibers will break off in your mouth – but then you’re pretty much all set.
The flavor is a natural one, and to describe it I would have to say it reminds me of horseradish on a much much milder level with no spice. And the more you use it, the more mild it gets.
Do I Like It?
When I first used my miswak I was afraid my teeth wouldn’t feel clean enough and I’d have to brush with toothpaste after. I was afraid I’d resort to using my plastic toothbrush at least before leaving the house…
I was wrong.
My teeth do actually feel cleaner. Even without my favorite toothpaste.
I always found a regular toothbrush to be ineffective at fully removing plaque, which is why I floss. However, using the miswak I was surprised to find I really didn’t need to floss anymore, since the properties of the miswak are so effective at removing the plaque.
My teeth are shinier. I almost think they are whiter…could it really be true?
The most pleasant surprise of all is how easy the miswak is to use. I can “brush my teeth” in the car on the way to…anywhere. I find the miswak to be handier than a regular toothbrush, probably due to the fact I don’t need to be near a sink to use it. In fact tonight I used it while playing Yahtzee with my daughter.
Stay tuned for a giveaway near the end of the week. I will personally mail two of you a miswak and you can try it for yourself. When I ordered, I actually received twelve for $10, not one – and in reading the reviews this isn’t unusual. If you can’t wait for the giveaway head on over to amazon and order one (twelve?) today!
|Lea Harris founded Nourishing Treasures in 2006. A mom passionate about her family's health and well-being, Lea believes education is power. Encouraging others to take baby steps in the right direction of health for their families, Lea's goal is to raise awareness of what goes into our mouths and on our bodies, providing natural alternative information that promotes health and prevents disease by using traditional foods and nature's medicine.|
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