What is Miswak?
Miswak is a twig that helps in cleaning teeth and has been used for this purpose for over 7000 years now! Reportedly, Miswak stick has been in use right since the time of the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians. Which would mean that this humble chew stick is older than Queen Cleopatra? Which in turn means that every time you use Miswak, you’d in fact be brushing with a piece of history!
Although chew sticks can be made from many commonly occurring plants, such as olive trees, Miswak is most generally associated with the Salvadora persica tree, commonly known as ‘arak’ in Arabic.
How to use it?
- If you have a "fresh" twig — one that hasn't been used yet — start by chewing off of the bark at either end of the twig. Stop when you've exposed an inch or so of the wood underneath. Spit out and discard the bark.
- When you've exposed the wood underneath the bark at the tip of your twig, start chewing on it. You're aiming to soften this wood so that it breaks up into thin, fibrous bristles. This should only take a minute or two — you'll know you're ready when the tip of the wood is soft enough that it can be fanned out slightly like a small brush.
- Traditionally, miswak is performed without toothpaste or other oral health products, though you may dip the bristly end of the twig in water.
- You're now ready to brush. You can grip the stick however feels comfortable to you — keep in mind that you'll be brushing with the tip of the stick, rather than the side, as with a toothbrush
- Now, start brushing! Press the bristly tip of the stick into your teeth and move it gently up and down to scrub their front surfaces. Move slowly around your mouth, taking your time and hitting every surface of your teeth with the bristles. Don't press extra-hard — your goal is to gently scrub the teeth, not scrape or gouge them.
- Keep your miswak stick fresh by using a knife (or your bare hands) to cut or break off the old bristles when they become worn.
- When you're done cleaning your teeth, quickly clean your miswak of any debris and give it a brief rinse. Keep the miswak in a clean but open space, not in a bag or container, which can encourage mold growth by trapping moisture next to the stick. Keep miswak sticks away from any sinks or toilets to avoid the accidental transfer of bacteria due to splashes.
Benefits of Miswak
There are many scientists who believe that miswak extract has multiple benefits for your teeth. Some of the benefits of using miswak are:
Fights gum disease
Prevent any existing teeth decay from getting worse
Protect teeth from cavities
Contains minerals such as chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium
Strengthen the enamel in your teeth
Leaves you with a healthy mouth
Refreshing after taste