We tend to not take oral hygiene seriously, do we? The lack of it can cause a lot of problems, say expert dentists. Aching tooth, swollen gums, and more, the lack of oral care can really throw you off the saddle. Only those who have suffered the same for a very long time would be able to tell you what the pain in the mouth feels like.
However, those who suffer from the oral issues, must check miswak benefits for a long-term solution. Yes, miswak is the new superhero as such in this day of all things modern. For the right dental and gum or oral care, there are tons of miswak benefits to grasp onto.
Benefits Of Miswak:
Before we tell you more about miswak benefits, we would like to give you a background on the history of miswak, the miswak origin, miswak benefits in Islam and more.
History of Miswak:
You wanted to know more about miswak, did you not? Here is it. It is basically a twig which helps keep the teeth clean and for more than 5000 odd years, the miswak stick benefits have been spoken about. What it does is to combine the functions of using a toothbrush with paste, and it has antimicrobial properties too.
This has kept millions of individuals using miswak to steer clear from dreadful tooth decays and oral issues for many centuries now. They also say according to historical records, right from the days of ancient Babylonia and Egypt, miswak has been used. So, you are, in fact making more history by using the miswak stick.
What Science Says:
There were many studies done on the miswak stick benefits, and some done by WHO as well and other health organizations across the world too. Research shows that those who use the miswak stick daily needed dental care on much lesser notes than those that used commercially-produced toothpaste and powders.
Here is what the report in NCBI says about chewing miswak “It is generally accepted that oral hygiene maintenance through the regular removal of dental plaque and food deposits is an essential factor in the prevention of dental caries and periodontal disease. Methods for oral hygiene vary from country to country and from culture to culture. Despite the widespread use of toothbrushes and toothpastes, natural methods of tooth cleaning using chewing sticks selected and prepared from the twigs, stems or roots from a variety of plant species have been practiced for thousands of years in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.
Selected clinical studies have shown that chewing sticks when properly used, can be as efficient as toothbrushes in removing dental plaque due to the combined effect of mechanical cleaning and enhanced salivation. It has also been suggested that antimicrobial substances that naturally protect plants against various invading microorganisms or other parasites may leach out into the oral cavity and that these compounds may benefit the users by protection against cariogenic and periodontopathic bacteria. Some clinical epidemiological studies are in support of this, and many laboratory investigations have suggested the presence of heterogeneous antimicrobial components extractable using different chemical procedures.
A few recent studies have identified some of the active antimicrobial compounds. Today, chewing sticks are still used in many developing countries because of religion and or tradition, and because of their availability, low cost, and simplicity. The World Health Organization also encourages their use. The Year 2000 Consensus Report on Oral Hygiene states that chewing sticks may have a role to play in the promotion of oral hygiene, and that evaluation of their effectiveness warrants further research.”
It is also said that when someone chews miswak on a regular basis, there are therapeutic effects noticed, especially when they suffer from gingivitis. Miswak, according to other studies and research show that there is a lot of improvement in cases that have plaque issues. And there are other miswak stick benefits that we will talk about going forward. However, did you know, miswak has a high value and importance in Islam? Let’s take a look at that first!
Miswak And Islam:
From the time miswak sticks originated many centuries back, its use has been going strong and has not seen the phase of discontinuation as such. Thanks to the Islamic jurisprudence and the practices they follow, they hold miswak in a very high regard. It is said that the Holy Prophet himself chewed sticks that were obtained from the ARAK tree, and hence the mentioning of the same has been found in the HADITHS, which talks about the Holy Prophet’s life. In Islam, it is said that using the miswak stick on Fridays or before and after embarking on journeys or even religious practices was a norm, and it is still continuing amongst many today. This is a practice well-known amongst people of the Northern African nations, the Arabs, the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia too.
Here is an interesting citation by NCBI, which talks about Islam and Miswak.
“Before the emergence of Islam, people in Arab countries used miswak derived from the root of the ‘Arak’ tree (Salvadora persica).12 Miswak was used by the ancient Arabs to keep their teeth white and shiny, as white and shiny teeth were associated with beauty and attractiveness. Another possible reason for its use is its contribution to ritual purity. In the early Islamic period, the use of miswak became a part of a cultivated and elegant mode of life.8 The use of miswak as a tool of basic oral hygiene has been incorporated into Islam as part of religious practice.7 Islam has given an elevated status to the miswak, and its importance has been stressed in many Prophetic narratives by Muslim commentators.
The Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) strongly recommended the use of miswak and was himself a fervent supporter of its use. According to Muslim commentators of Prophetic narration, the use of miswak was a constant practice of Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) prior to sleeping, after rising, after entering the house, before and after meals, during fasting, and before the recitation of prayers and reading of the holy texts. Since then, the miswak has been featured prominently in Islamic hygienic jurisprudence.
In one narration, the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “If I had not found it hard for my followers or the people, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak (Miswak) for every prayer”.23 In another narration, the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said “The Siwak is a means of purification for the mouth and a source of achieving the pleasure of Allah”.24
Thus, the influence of Islam on the spread and use of chewing sticks in different parts of the world is significant.25 The religious and spiritual impact of the miswak probably is the principal reason why it is extensively used by Muslims all over the globe.14 Today, both the traditional miswak and the modern toothbrush are used commonly in Muslim countries. Utilization of the desert plant miswak (Salvadora persica) is widespread in Saudi Arabia,26 and young people from Saudi Arabia are increasingly combining modern and traditional oral hygiene methods.11”
What Are The Active Ingredients In Miswak:
While we are boasting and talking very high about the miswak stick, many would like to know what active ingredients in the miswak stick make it so special? Unlike the commercially-produced toothpastes and powders that speak of one or two active ingredients as the main ones in their products, the miswak stick has around nineteen such ingredients. And all of them help promote strength in the teeth and maintain oral health too.
Some of them are-
- Alkaloids which have an antimicrobial effect
- To remove stains and for gentle natural abrasion, there is silica in it
- There are fluorides, chlorides, and calcium in miswak, which are important for dental and oral care, and caring for the structure of the teeth
- You also have sulphur in it
- There is a lot of vitamin C in miswak sticks
- The presence of resins in the sticks helps form protective layers on the enamel which protects the teeth further
- There is a natural astringent in the stick, tannins which help stimulate premolar saliva production
- Small amounts of sterols, flavonoids, and saponins are present in the stick
- You also have essential oils, for a mild taste and smell, and also which helps stimulate saliva production too.
From the time we were kids, it was ingrained in us that toothpastes were the best to use when it came to oral and dental care. It has always been an accepted practice that toothpastes have been essential when it came to caring for the teeth. However, here comes a question- where were toothpastes in the ancient days? People back then used to chew sticks, such as miswak sticks to clean their teeth. And this has been proved time and again that the sticks were best to use and have helped millions over the centuries.
And now that we have told you all about its active ingredients and the benefits of using miswak without any chemical formulations in it, you can say that miswak is very safe to use by adults and children too. This would not be the case when it came to commercial toothpastes and powders; children under a certain age are not able to use what is made for adults when it comes to oral and dental care. In short, it has been proven that miswak sticks can be comfortably used as a supplement to the toothbrush, and that is because of its effectiveness. This we shall explain further when we talk about the health benefits of miswak.
Health Benefits Of Miswak:
So what are the real benefits of using miswak? Why not just use a toothbrush instead of miswak? Let’s take a look at how the chewing stick scores higher than that of a commercially-produced toothbrush, shall we? Below are listed the benefits of using miswak, which helps us more.
[Also Read: Health Benefits Of Cinnamon And Honey]
Say Goodbye To Cavities And Tooth Decay:
You have a lot of food ranges out there, which we munch and eat now and then. And most of it has plenty of sugars in it- sugar processed foods found in abundance. What has happens is, while we enjoy plenty of such foods, our teeth take a beating. Experts opine, because of such foods, there are growing cases of cavities and tooth decay amongst the many that visit them. Such foods are responsible for the destruction of the enamel of the teeth, even though you regularly brush your teeth.
How does that happen? There are many types of bacteria that are housed in our mouths. We have the good and the bad bacteria alike in our mouths. What the bacteria does is to use the sugar and the starch which is found in foods to make acids. These acids then go ahead and slowly eat up the enamel. This thus leads to the decaying and eventually into cavities. Most commercial toothpastes would have fluoride in them so that the decay can be done away with.
Another effective solution is that would be the use of your own saliva. It is a well-known fact amongst researchers that our own saliva can help fight the decay of teeth, and it does by not allowing the acids in the mouth to build up. This gives the teeth enough of time to repair themselves. With regard to using the miswak sticks, it helps increase more saliva production in the mouth and one does not need any commercial enhancers for the same. Thus, this would be a very natural way to fight tooth decay, say experts. Miswak also is known to help make the enamel of the teeth strong. This happens because of the presence of sodium chloride in it, along with calcium oxide and sodium bicarbonate.
Miswak Sticks Helps Fight Plaque And Tartar:
Plaque and tartar are pretty much common in everyone’s mouth. And as you read this, there is more of it building up in your mouth too. This formation is a very common process. Plaque is colorless and it is built up on the teeth, and this is how the bacteria grow and multiply. You can remove plaque with regular brushing, however, the build-up of plaque leads to tartar.
Tartar, unlike plaque, is very visible and yellowish in color. It sticks to your gums and teeth and can be the cause of gum diseases and loss of teeth in the future. You would have to brush the right way every day to ensure that the teeth are kept free from tartar and plaque. Miswak sticks are best for the same. They have plenty of antibacterial properties in them, which does not allow the accumulation of bacteria on the gums and teeth.
Malodor Is Removed With Miswak Sticks:
Halitosis or bad breath is an indication that you may have several dental issues that need to be checked. It could be that you are eating foods that are too strong for the mouth, or because you have a gum disease. You could also have bad breath because of dental cavities too. Whatever be the reason, this would be a clear warning and sign that this is not how your mouth should be.
When there is less of saliva production in the mouth, it leads to malodor. There isn’t one justified cause for bad breath as such, but you need a strong answer to the same or else the condition could turn embarrassing ahead. Experts say when you use miswak, the strong antimicrobial properties it has enhances the production of saliva in the mouth. And this would be an instant effective remedy for beating bad breath. There are also certain compounds in miswak sticks that bring into the mouth a fragrance which is mild.
Kills Gems And Bacteria:
It is true that the mouth is a home to a large number of bacteria strains, and some of them are good while the others are pesky and bad. Most of the bacteria, the good one that is, help break down the food we eat and also help keep the health of our gums and teeth in the finest shape. There are other forms of bacteria in the mouth that are bad and can be reason the why your teeth and gums are actively destroyed.
This is why, we suffer from periodontitis, gum diseases, and tartar, all of which affect the gum and the jawbones, and all because of the bad bacteria living in our mouths. The esteemed WHO has done a lot of research and studies on miswak sticks, which they say has enough of antimicrobial compounds that help actively fight the bacterial invasion inside our mouths. And they also say that those who used miswak on a daily basis suffered lesser problems on oral and dental issues than those who did not.
Gums Are Protected And Strengthened:
Your gums would be an indication to tell you if your oral health is fine or not. Any condition affecting the teeth will eventually affect the gums as well. The same is the case with plaque, which affects both teeth and the gums. When you have a build-up of plaque, which turns into tartar, it can affect your gums and your teeth in many ways. For example, you could have periodontitis, advanced periodontitis, and even gingivitis too. With regard to gingivitis, it needs immediate help and attention and the right treatment too.
If left untreated, it can enhance the build-up of tartar. This will then eventually affect the underlying bone structure, and cause gum recession. You then would have to even change your dentures and teeth eventually would be lost too. This would then lead to advanced periodontitis, which is very painful and irreversible. But thanks to miswak sticks, it helps prevent the formation of plaque and tartar, and brings down the chances of you suffering from any of the mentioned diseases. Miswak also helps keep your gums healthy too.
The Taste Is Refreshing:
The aftertaste of miswak sticks is very refreshing, and the fragrance is heavenly as well. The sticks have an abundance of volatile aromatic compounds that are naturally occurring, and they promote cleanliness for sure but bring about a pleasant breath too, which is comparable to any of the toothpastes you see around.
Now that you know more about the miswak sticks and its benefits, let’s take a look at how to use it.
How To Use Miswak Stick?
There are no rules as such when it comes to how to use miswak sticks. You can use it standalone or use it along with your normal toothbrush and toothpaste. However, when you are using miswak from the miswak tree, here are the things experts say to keep in mind.
- Chew one end of the twig.
- It is from this chewed end that you would start chewing and this would make the twig soft and moist, and then the bristles would form. If need be, you can dip this part of the twig into water and then start chewing again.
- You now would see individual fibers and they look like bristles. Can start brushing your teeth with this twig as you normally brush your teeth with a toothbrush. You do not have to use toothpaste with it.
- If you want to carry on with the brushing, chew the twig further on when the earlier bristles are exhausted.
This is how you use miswak sticks.
Do you want to know where to buy miswak?
There are many online avenues and shopping sites from where you can buy miswak sticks. Some of them are DASH INDIA, AMAZON, FLIPKART, and even MISWAKSTICK.COM.
We hope this information on miswak sticks and its history along with its benefits makes a beneficial read for you! Let us know what you think in the comments box.