An Ancient Dental Tool: The All Natural Miswak Toothbrush

December 22, 2023 7 mins to read
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Virtually everything we’ve been told about dental hygiene has been a lie! Plastic Toothbrushes contribute to plastic waste, and release toxic chemicals into our bodies, which can lead to a range of diseases; They are toxic to the environment and our bodies. So what can we do about it? Miswak to the rescue – An ancient dental tool that is 100% all natural, biodegradable, hand made and has a range of health benefits. So throw away your plastic toothbrush and put on your reading glasses, because you are about to get educated!

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@jd.nutrition

What is Miswak and is it better than modern toothbrushes 🪥🦷🤔⁉️ For health: It’s antibacterial, supports gum health, helps remove plaque buildup, helps bad breath and doesn’t leach toxic ☣️ plastic into our mouths. For the environment plastic toothbrushes add millions of pounds of plastic waste each year Vs Miswak which is 100% and eco friendly. I wrote a full article on Miswak. #toothbrush #toothbrushing #toothbrushhack #miswak #oralhygeine #dentalcare #dentalcare🦷🦷🦷 #dentalcareroutine #healthtips #naturaloralcare #naturaloralhealth #holisticnutritionist

♬ original sound – JDNutrition

A Bit About Me

When I was a kid I did everything right…fluoride toothpaste treatments and tap water, the fanciest ultra-sonic plaque busting toothbrush and frequent cleanings at the dentist – yet I got more cavities and root canals than I ever have in my life! Now getting into integrative nutrition in college and shifting my life to be free of plastics and chemicals…I’ve changed to a healthier (mainly) whole foods diet and I get a minor cavity maybe every 3-5 years. I wish I had known what I know now, because I probably could have saved a couple teeth and allot of money and misery. That is why I’m always on the lookout for natural alternatives, and the Miswak Toothbrush is one of them!

The Environmental Impact

Approximately 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown out each year in the United States, which translates to about 3 brushes per person. This results in roughly 50 million pounds of plastic waste being added to landfills each year from the U.S. alone. The entire global population produces around 600 million KG of plastic toothbrush waste annually.

And yes Even those “healthy” bamboo and wood toothbrushes use nylon or synthetic plastic bristles. And guess what? During production of nylon bristles it releases nitrous oxide into the environment, a potent greenhouse gas.

Vs a miswak toothbrush which is 100% biodegradable, renewable and hand made.

Toxic Chemicals in Your Plastic Toothbrush

If it’s your health you’re more concerned about…studies have shown during normal use and wear a standard plastic toothbrush can release estrogenic chemicals from the plastic materials, even those labeled as “BPA-free.” And with the plastic bristles those chemicals can leech directly into your mouth and be absorbed in the bloodstream where they add to the toxic burden your body has to detox.

Understanding the Miswak Toothbrush

The Miswak, derived from the Salvadora persica tree, commonly known as the “toothbrush tree,” has been a staple in Middle Eastern, African, and Asian oral hygiene practices for ages. It’s wild to think that despite all our modern advancements in oral care, that maybe our ancestors did it better. What makes Miswak so remarkable is not just its historical significance, but its many health benefits, many of which are backed by modern research.

The Nutritional Perspective: Oral Health and Overall Wellness

Modern and western medicine has taught us to look at each body part and health issue in a vacuum, when In reality everything is interconnected. And our health issues often have a complex puzzle of different things that lead to that disease or illness. Just like our ‘gut microbiome’ our mouth has an ‘oral microbiome’ whos’ impact on our health goes well beyond just our mouth – affecting digestion, immunity and even heart health (to name a few). This is where the Miswak toothbrush, with its natural antibacterial properties, becomes a game-changer for our oral health.

Anti-bacterial Miswak

Studies have shown that the natural fibers of Miswak contain natural antibacterial compounds, which can significantly reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. This means its sort of a toothbrush and mouth-wash all-in-one! These anti-bacterial properties help to prevent dental caries and gingivitis, and even improve bad breath!

Plaque Reduction and Teeth Whitening

Unlike conventional toothpaste, which relies on toxic chemical compounds like fluoride which can damage brain function and lower IQ…Miswak offers a natural way to reduce plaque and whiten teeth. We have an epidemic of disease with skyrocketing rates of cancer, autoimmune conditions, as well as heart and brain disease…It doesn’t take much to swap out your toxic plastic toothbrush for Miswak, and take one more step towards a healthier disease free life.

Gum Health and Salivation

Good gum health is essential for overall oral hygiene. Miswak not only strengthens gums but also promotes salivation – saliva is part of your ‘oral microbiome’ and contains bacteria that help to clean protect teeth from decay.

Miswak in Modern Times

Were all trying to live more in tune with nature by reducing our waste (well most of us), wherever we can. A toothbrush is a part of our daily routine and one easy way to stop using our planet like a garbage can. Miswak is biodegradable, pollution free and essentially zero waste – it’s a renewable crop and you can even use it without water or toothpaste. Personally I still use toothpaste and water to rinse but you get the point.

Personal Experience and Recommendations

As an integrative nutrition in school to become a holistic nutritionist…I recognize that we as human beings and our health is directly connected to the environment. As much as unhealthy food or toxic fluoride toothpaste can contribute to disease, so can a toxic environment. So yes I’ve swapped out my normal toothbrush for a Miswak Toothbrush. It takes a bit of getting used to, as I soak it for a minute before using, and it feels more like I’m rubbing my teeth with a stick (because well it is a stick…) but if it’s better for my health and the environment, I’ll make it work.

Final Thoughts | Conclusion

Miswak and the Miswak Toothbrush is another dental tool, but one that is better for our health and the environment; a testament to the wisdom of our ancestors. It teaches us that modern advances aren’t always better, and as beings connected with our environment sometimes going back to nature can improve our own health too. As we continue to explore the depths of traditional knowledge through a modern lens, it’s clear that sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most profound.

References and Further Reading

  1. Almas, K. “The effect of Salvadora persica extract (Miswak) and chlorhexidine gluconate on human dentin: a SEM study.” Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, 2002.
  2. Al-Bayati, F. A., & Sulaiman, K. D. “In vitro antimicrobial activity of Salvadora persica L. extracts against some isolated oral pathogens in Iraq.” Turkish Journal of Biology, 2008.
  3. Sofrata, A., et al. “Benzyl isothiocyanate, a major component from the roots of Salvadora persica is highly active against Gram-negative bacteria.” PLoS One, 2011.
  4. World Health Organization. “Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002–2005.” WHO, 2002.
  5. Almas, K. “Antibacterial properties of miswak.” Annals of Saudi Medicine, 1997.
    • This study explores the antibacterial properties of the Miswak, suggesting its effectiveness in oral hygiene.
  6. Al-Lafi, T., & Ababneh, H. “The effect of the extract of the Miswak (chewing sticks) used in Jordan and the Middle East on oral bacteria.” International Dental Journal, 1995. This research investigates the impact of Miswak extract on oral bacteria, highlighting its potential in reducing dental plaque and bacteria.
  7. Sofrata, A., et al. “Benzyl isothiocyanate, a major component from the roots of Salvadora persica is highly active against Gram-negative bacteria.” PLoS One, 2011. This study identifies the active component in Miswak that is effective against Gram-negative bacteria, underlining its role in oral health.
  8. Al-Otaibi, M., et al. “The Miswak (chewing stick) and oral health. Studies on oral hygiene practices of urban Saudi Arabians.” Swedish Dental Journal, 2004. This research focuses on the use of Miswak in urban Saudi Arabian populations, examining its effects on oral hygiene.
  9. World Health Organization. “Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002–2005.” WHO, 2002. The World Health Organization’s report, which includes a mention of Miswak as a recommended tool for oral hygiene.

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