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A Natural Alternative to Tooothbrushes

Toothbrushes weren’t always around, but many people still kept their teeth clean. Read on to see what many cultures used, and may still use as an alternative to toothbrushes.


Miswak twigs are commonly used in the Middle East, Northern Africa, the Sahel, India, and Asia. The twigs contain anit-bacterial properties, and is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Miswak works just as well as other oral disinfectant products today.




Sassafras is native to North America, and was commonly used by Native Americans. Its twigs, oil, and wood are used in dentistry, and as fire starters. Sassafras has aromatic properties, and was used in the first toothbrushes. It was also used as a dental anesthetic and disinfectant.





Mangosteens, also known as sap trees, are tropical forest trees commonly found in Ghana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and in some parts of Nigeria. It can prevent dental cavities, and reduce long term dental pain when its twigs are used. Mangosteens are made up of the chemical aminoflavone.



Drumstick Tree

The drumstick tree, also known as the African laburnum. It is native to Africa, and is used for anti-microbial and medicinal purposes, which are due to its composition of hydrogen cyanide. The tree also contains tannins, glycosides, saponins, steroids and astringents in its parts.




Karanja is known by many names, Honge, Pongam, and the Indian Beech tree. Its root is an excellent toothbrush for cleaning gums, teeth, and tongues. The twig of a Karanja is also excellent, and can strengthen gums, as well as work to cure toothache.




The Neem tree, also known as the Indian Lilac, Neeb, Margosa, and Nimbo, has been used as a toothbrush in India for thousands of years. Chewing on the twigs of this tree releases a strong anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that destroy harmful bacteria, reduce inflammation , and prevent bacteria and plaque from sticking to the teeth. Its twigs can also help to cure gingivitis and destroy bacteria beneath gums that would cause periodontal disease and halitosis.




Babul is also known as Acacia Nilotica, Gum arabic tree, and Kikar. Its twigs are used to brush teeth in southeast Africa and India. It has a bitter taste, but its bark and branches are very potent in strengthening gums, preventing gingivitis, and whitening teeth. When chewed, most twigs fray into fin strands which can be used to floss between the teeth, or brush away tooth enamel very well.



Indian Rosewood

The Indian rosewood is also known as the Bombay blackwood, sheesham, sisoo, and sisso. Its twigs have been used for cental hygiene for centuries in parts of India, Africa, the Middle East, and Pakistan. Most of rural India still uses twigs of either Indian rosewood, Miswak, or Neem to brush their teeth, although modern brushes are becoming popular.




Licorice root is used in very many countries for dental hygiene, and as an herbal remedy. It is native to Eurasia, and is used all across southern Europe. It is also grown in the USA, and is cultivated in Russia, Spain, and the Middle East. The root of the plant can be chewed as a mouth freshener that can help treat oral disease.



Mango Tree

Mango trees are native to India and parts of south Asia, but are grown in most tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Mango twigs make excellent toothbrushes. Its leaves are also anti-bacterial and can be used as toothbrushes, as they contain mangiferin, which can easily kill several types of bacteria responsible for cavities, gum disease, bad breath, dental erosion, and plaque. The mid-rib of a fresh mango leaf is removed, and the leaf is rolled tightly into a pipe with the shiny surface facing inwards. One side of the pipe is bitten off and used as a brush.




Dogwood twigs were very popular among Native Americans as chew sticks. Dogwood twigs were chewed on to cean and whiten teeth. Tea made from the bark and leaves reduce fever and chills, and the twig frays when chewed, forming a brush to clean gums, and between the teeth.



Jamaican Chew Stick

The Jamaican chew stick is made from a vine with a woody stem, and is used as a natural method to clean the teeth in Jamaica. The chew stick has anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties, and ensures dental health by replenishing important minerals to the teeth and fighting acids that cause tooth decay. The foam emitted from the top of the stick helps to clean and whiten teeth naturally, and prevents plaque and tartar formation in the mouth.




Many of these chew sticks are only available in specific areas, so if you want to switch to a more natural way of cleaning your teeth, find what is near you, or order online.

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Phone: 823-2898
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Email: 4adentist@gmail.com
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