What is Miswaak?
Miswaak, which is also known as the oldest toothbrush in history, is a chewing stick. It is made from the roots of the Arak tree (Salvadora persica). It is one of the best and cheapest forms of dental hygiene. It is generally used in regions of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and Southeast Asia. As Prophet Mohammad ((PBUH) used to do miswaak in his daily life, therefore it is considered as “sunnah” in the culture of Islam.
Miswaak not only helps to remover plaque, calculus, and debris, but it has also been useful to show positive antimicrobial activities. These positive antimicrobial activities protect the teeth from cariogenic and periodontopathic bacteria.
Miswaak vs Toothbrush
Miswaak is more beneficial than toothbrushes and toothpaste/mouthwash. Besides removing plaque, calculus, and debris, it also provides the remedy to anti-sensitize the teeth; prevents the onset of tooth decay, bone building, and bone protecting properties; strengthens joints, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues; kills pathogens; remineralizes tooth structure; regulates blood pressure; boosts immunity; helps ward off infections; heals tissue repair; reduces bleeding gums; protects from a heart attack, and is anti-cancerous.
Antioxidants may help the body to protect itself against various types of oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species, which are linked to a variety of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammatory diseases. The antioxidant capacity of miswaak makes it an excellent instrument for cleaning teeth, oral hygiene, and food removing purposes, whereas toothbrushes are contradicted in patients with hypersensitivity and cardiovascular disease.
Techniques of Using Miswaak/Chewing Sticks
There are two basic methods for using chewing sticks:
- Pen-grip (three-finger)
- Palm-grip (five-finger)
In either case, the purpose is to make sure firm but controlled movement of the brush end of the miswaak within the oral cavity, so that every area of the mouth is reached with relative ease and convenience.
The techniques employed for removing plaque routinely are similar to both a toothbrush and a chewing stick: vertical and horizontal brushing. The cleaning movement should always be directed away from the gingival margin of the teeth which means away from the gums, on both the buccal and lingual surfaces.
Benefits of Miswaak
Miswaak helps to
- combat tooth decay and cavities
- protects against tartar and plaque
- combat harmful bacteria and germs
- protects the gums
- strengthen the gums
- refresh aftertaste
Besides all the amazing benefits of miswaak, one of the biggest benefits is that it is easily available and cheap to use.
Disadvantages of chewing Miswaak
Although miswaak is considered to be an important help in continuing oral hygiene, certain disadvantages are linked with its use. Its bristles lie in the long axis of the stick, whereas those of a toothbrush is placed perpendicular to the handle. Thus, it is difficult to reach the lingual surfaces of the dentition with a miswak. Another disadvantage is related to the typical use of miswaak for a prolonged time. Studies show that miswaak or chewing stick users may extremely scrub the anterior teeth, which are located in the area of primary concern while ignoring the posterior teeth. Other studies show that it is the primary cause of gingival recession.