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What Is A Miswak Stick? (What You Need To Avoid)

What Is A Miswak Stick

Are you looking for an effective, all natural way to clean your teeth? Dental professionals recommend several tools and products to improve and maintain your oral health. Many of these contain chemicals or pricey gadgets. Nowadays, some people prefer alternative or more holistic approaches to improving the health of their teeth and gums. The most popular holistic tool is a miswak stick. This article will answer the question: What is a miswak stick?

If you have never heard of a miswak stick, you are in for some great information. Along with all the benefits of using a miswak stick, there are some things you need to avoid. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about using miswak sticks for your oral hygiene routine.

What is a miswak stick

First Off, What Is a Miswak Stick?

Miswak is an Arabic word that means dental cleaning stick. A miswak stick is a tool used for cleaning your teeth effectively. It is the preferred oral cleaning method in such cultures as Asian, African, Islamic, Arabian and South American. Other names for a miswak stick are sewak, siwak, arak, datun and mefaka. The end of the stick is commonly chewed on to remove plaque, bacteria and food debris from your teeth.

An article published in the National Library of Medicine discusses the benefits of using miswak sticks for improving oral hygiene. All studies reported a positive effect of miswak as an anit-gingivitis, anti-cavity, anti-plaque adjunct containing whitening and wound healing properties.

In a randomized clinical trial, with the sample size determined by ADA (American Dental Association) guidelines, participants were separated into two groups. Members in one group were provided with toothbrushes and in the other group, members were instructed to use miswak sticks. Examinations were done pre and post use to determine plaque and gingival dental indices. The results showed the miswak users were as effective if not more effective at cleaning the oral cavity than toothbrush users. Superior results are achieved when combining both miswak sticks and your regular toothbrush.

What is a miswak stick

By removing a half inch of bark from the end of the stick, the natural fibers of the stick will become exposed. When moistened with water or saliva, these fibers become flexible. The end frays into the formation of toothbrush-like bristles. When the end starts to shred, it can be cut off further to expose a new end. In this manner, a miswak stick can be used for several weeks or until the end of the stick is reached.
The miswak stick’s bristle-like fibers can effectively reach into the in-between areas of your teeth. This allows for miswak to clean the spaces between your teeth at the same time it is used to brush your teeth. It is usually used up to five times a day and especially after snacks and meals.

It contains vitamin C which promotes healing of tissues. This can help with periodontal or gum disease. The stem and root of the miswak stick contains phytochemicals, flavonoids and tannins considered to be anti-plaque agents. These anti-bacterial and anti-cavity properties make miswak more than just an alternative to your toothbrush. Other holistic approaches to dental health include the use of coconut oil (oil pulling) and using essential oils. Learn more about a holistic mouth rinse recommended by dental professionals for treating gum disease.

How Do You Use a Miswak Stick?

Miswak sticks come from the roots of the Peelu, Arak or Salvadora Persica tree found In the Arabian Peninsula and parts of Asia. Research suggests that with regular use of miswak, you will reduce bacterial growth and suppress the formation of plaque. With continued regular use, research also suggests that it significantly improves the health of your teeth and gums and reduces the growth of bacteria that cause cavities.

Miswak sticks naturally contain astringents, abrasives, resins, detergents and fluoride. These properties can all be beneficial to the health of your teeth and gums. No toothpaste is required to use miswak sticks. Simply scrape the bark from half an inch of the end of the stick. You can soak your miswak stick in water up to four hours beforehand to make this step easier. Chew the end to create bristle-like fibers. Be mindful to hold the stick perpendicular to your tooth surface and be sure to use on the inside and outside of your teeth as well as the chewing surfaces.

Fibers should be moved in a vertical motion away from the gumline. Some people prefer to use miswak sticks in circular motions. This is a personal preference and it is perfectly safe to do so. They are most commonly used in an up and down motion. When the end of the stick becomes too worn out or frayed, cut off the end of the miswak stick. This will expose a fresh new end to be used. Just like a toothbrush, the miswak stick can be used to clean the tongue, cheeks, gumline and the roof of your mouth.

Other Benefits of Miswak Stick

An acidic state caused by certain sugar laden and acidic foods and drinks lowers the mouth pH making you prone to cavities. Increased saliva will buffer the acid state and balance it to a more alkaline state to help prevent decay. Researchers have noted that miswak users benefit over toothbrush users in other ways. The saliva of miswak users was found to contain more tooth remineralizing agents such as calcium, sodium and phosphate.

Miswak also has anti-fungal properties which can be helpful in the prevention of a common condition of fungal overgrowth in the mouth causing infection. This condition is called oral candidiasis. It can be caused by smoking, wearing dentures or certain conditions such as head and neck radiation, chemotherapy, or medications like steroids and antibiotics. Oral candidiasis can also be caused by certain medical conditions like cancer, HIV or diabetes.

Dental stains are also improved with the use of miswak sticks. Within the miswak stick are abrasive agents of sodium bicarbonate and silica that can help remove stains from the surface of the enamel. The whitening and polishing effect is thought to happen after only a few weeks of regular use.

What Do You Need To Avoid?What is a miswak stick?

It is very important to not overdo the use of miswak sticks. The recommended use is 2-3 times a day for up to ten minutes at a time. Miswak sticks can be used up to 5 times per day. If you use them too aggressively, you can cause recession of your gums and abrasion of your enamel.

Damage can be avoided by using the same amount of pressure you would use when brushing your teeth with a manual toothbrush. Many people are encouraged to use an electric toothbrush by their dental professional if they tend to over brush their teeth. An electric toothbrush will have a built-in feature to alert you to ease up on your pressure while providing the proper brush stroke.

Also, avoid purchasing unknown or unauthentic miswak sticks. Some can be poisonous and potentially harmful to you. Be sure to look for your miswak stick to originate from a Peelu, Arak or Salvadora Persica tree. It is not advised to use miswak sticks that have originated from Pomegranate, Raihaan, Chambelle or Bamboo trees. These can be potentially poisonous.

It is important to visit your dentist or dental hygienist regularly to have your oral health evaluated. Your dental professional can alert you to potential conditions like gum disease, cavities and oral cancer. In addition, your dental professional will evaluate your home care routine and provide you with advice on how it can be improved. They can advise you on the best way to add miswak sticks to your oral health routine.

In Conclusion

Using miswak sticks as directed either alone or in combination with your regular toothbrush can provide excellent oral health benefits. Chewing miswak sticks is an ancient practice used for oral hygiene in many parts of the world. Due to their ease of use, affordability and availability, miswak sticks should become a part of every household and every culture.

By being aware of what you need to avoid when using a miswak stick, you can safely add this practice to your home care. This product is especially helpful for those people who want a holistic or more natural approach to their oral hygiene routine. If this is you, give it a try! You won’t be disappointed. Check out Amazon for the best place to purchase your miswak sticks. Please leave any questions or comments below and I would be happy to help.

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6 comments

  1. Arif

    ‘Miswak’ as we call it in our own language is considered a blessing for human beings in Islam. It is part of the Islamic sunnah (the activities performed by the holy prophet (Muhammad peace be upon him). In Islamic culture, it is used unconditionally just considering the fact that it was used by the prophet. It has many benefits related to tooth, gum, teeth, mouth infections, and ulcers. It is also helpful in improving the process of digestion. 

    The Islamic way of using it is: Holding the miswak stick vertically between the fingers. Brushing and rubbing the teeth, and gums in an up and down position gently, cleaning the tongue smoothly. Performing this activity at least 3 times for the best results. It is used regularly 5 times before offering the prayers or after the meals.

    Your article has highlighted even more benefits and advantages than I knew about Miswak. Nowadays, miswak is also used as an ingredient in making toothpaste. It is one of the best ways to make it a habit of using miswak daily. Thanks for this detailed and informative post on Miswak.

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH

      Arif, 

      I am so thankful for your input of miswak sticks in the Islamic culture. This is truly beneficial information. I am also grateful for your added instruction and specific directions on proper use in the Islamic culture. Thank you for sharing with other readers!

      Michelle

  2. Omer Shah

    My family is actually from South Asia, but being that I have only been there once, the Miswak stick was novel to me. I had no idea that there was a tooth cleaning stick out there that you could just chew on to help with oral health. I am really interested to give it a go and think I will be getting one soon.

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH

      Omer,

      Even though the miswak stick is more common in Islamic, Asian and South American cultures, it is becoming more prevalent throughout the world. This is because it is effective, convenient and affordable. As a dental hygienist, I am glad to give my patients great options like the miswak stick for improving their oral health.

      Michelle

  3. Farah Rehman

    Hello, I am someone that was brought up in Pakistan when I was younger and remember my family using these incredible sticks – how they always had healthy and white teeth so it truly does work! Sometimes, the old traditional ways are so much better!

    I am blown away by the variety of benefits that it contains along with vitamins and minerals, will be ordering – thanks for bringing to my attention and sure brings back some sweet memories!

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH

      Farah, 

      I am glad you found value in the article: What Is A Miswak Stick? (What You Need To Avoid). Sometimes, less is more when it comes to your oral home care. I am also impressed with the holistic nature of miswak sticks. Our mouths have a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria that is meant to protect us. This is called the microbiome. It is important to avoid dental products that contain ingredients that can destroy our natural microbiome.

      Michelle

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