Miswak Toothbrush

March 03, 2014

Miswak Toothbrush
Brushing teeth with a miswak toothbrush
V-shaped tooth wear caused by excessive brushing
Miswak is a teeth cleaning twig made from the Salvadora persica tree. It is a traditional alternative to the modern toothbrush that is predominantly used in the Muslim inhabited areas.

Miswak is a teeth cleaning twig made from the shoot of the Salvadora persica tree. It is a traditional alternative to the modern toothbrush that is predominantly used in the Muslim inhabited areas. It is said that before man invented the toothbrush, God had given him miswak to keep his dental and oral formula healthy. A part from teeth brushing, the twig has social and religious significance to many people. It is believed that if an ardent Muslim brushes his teeth with this “chewing stick” before the five daily prayers, his reward for praying with a clean mouth is multiplied many times. This shows how important this twig is to the lives of Muslims. The use of “chewing sticks” in dental cleaning purposes has raised many questions than answers. Many critics and pundits spend sleepless nights arguing about the advantages and disadvantages of these twigs, some of which are included here.

Miswak is an alternative to the regular toothbrush and a lot of people (mostly Muslims) still use it for their oral hygiene. Dental professionals don't recommend it. 
Its controversy comes from the fact that Miswak is quoted in the Holy Quran by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad:
'Were it not that I might over-burden the Believers I would have ordered them to use Siwak (Miswak) at the time of every Prayer.'
'Four things are from among the practices of the Prophets: Circumcision, Perfume, Miswak, and Marriage.'
'Make a regular practice of Miswak for verily it is the purification for the mouth and a means of the pleasure of the Lord.'

Miswak is also known as siwak, meswak and sewak.


Advantages of using miswak for oral and dental cleaning:

1. These twigs are easily available and are known to have medicinal value that help to strengthen teeth gums, prevent teeth decay and eliminate toothaches. The shoots can be spawned to generate special toothpastes that are known to have great advantage on tooth brushing and cleaning procedures. 

2. These twigs also have special fragrance that is used in improving taste-bud sensitivity while eliminating bad breath. The chewing sticks can act as alternative preventive measure for teeth decay and other dental and oral conditions. Using these chewing sticks as an admonitory measures for clean and strong teeth is better than using nothing at all. 



1. The use of miswak for dental and oral cleaning can be described as unhygienic to the body system. Many people who use this twig carry it with them on their hands or inside their pockets, which is very unhygienic. Carrying the twig throughout the day exposes it to germs that might prove to be costly to your health. Maintaining the cleanliness of the chewing sticks is practically impossible.

2. These items are also known to have low antimicrobial activity in comparison to other dental disinfectants. This makes them inferior to the modern toothbrush and toothpaste when it comes to fighting dental and oral disinfectants. 

3. The miswak can cause periodontal health conditions like gingivitis and receding gums when used for a long time. Its surface is rough and scratches the enamel of the teeth. It is difficult to reach the spaces in between teeth while cleaning them using these sticks, a major factor that makes the use of these items for dental cleaning inferior to the use of toothbrushes. These twigs can also cause bleeding of the teeth gums when roughly used.  

4. By reaching the facial surfaces of the teeth more easily than the lingual surfaces or the inter-dental spaces, some surfaces of the whole dentition system are not reached. This leaves your dental and oral systems half-clean and can easily lead you to contracting serious infections.

5. People that have used miswak for a long time have V-shaped labial wear caused by excessive pressure during tooth brushing. These abrasion cavities can be seen everywhere in the mouth - on the incisors, canines, premolars and molars (mostly on the facial tooth surface).


Overbrushing can be damaging to the tooth structures


It is quite clear that the disadvantages surpass the advantages and it is for this reason that you are recommended to use the modern toothbrush. It is important to point out that the use of miswak is not intended to cure, prevent or treat any disease; its use should be limited to teeth and oral cleaning.


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