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The Natural Toothbrush

Ismail A Darout
Department of preventive Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, Jazan University Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Abstract—Oral hygiene measures have been practiced by different populations and cultures around the world since the antiquity with evidence for various oral hygiene products including toothpicks and toothpowders dating back to 4000 BC. Ancient Greek and Roman literature discusses toothpicks that were chewed on to help clean the teeth and mouth. The evolution of the modern toothbrush has its origin in chewing sticks that were used by the Babylonians as early as 3500 BC. Miswak or siwak (tooth cleaning stick) for mechanical tooth cleaning can be traced back at least to pre-Islamic times. Currently, many of the world populations still use chewing sticks as the only method for tooth cleaning. It has been estimated that between 21%-70% of adults in India and Pakistan use miswak, especially in the rural areas. Its use is also very common in Arab countries and most of the Muslim world. Chewing sticks are also the predominant tools that are used for oral hygiene procedures among African populations. Reasons for continuing the use of traditional tooth cleaning methods include low cost and availability. Customs and religious reasons because toothbrushes are not acceptable to all Muslims as an alternative or substitute for miswak during some months (Holy months) of a year. Therefore, chewing sticks have continued to be important for oral hygiene in these communities. 

Index Terms—miswak cleaning sticks, oral hygiene practice, manual toothbrush

Cite: Ismail A Darout, "The Natural Toothbrush," International Journal of Life Sciences Biotechnology and Pharma Research, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 1-14, July 2014.
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