miswak

The rage all around us is ORGANIC, hand-made, free-range and locally produced! From shampoos to lotions to body butter, medicines and mainly food, people are slowly and gradually returning to nature. Anything that has been derived from living matter, not processed or manufactured in a factory, is called organic. And it has got its benefits. Huge benefits actually!

After the industrial revolution, everything slowly and gradually started to be made out in factories. Mass production of not only everyday items of use but also food came into being. We see more and more processed food on the racks of a grocery store than ever. If it isn’t otherwise manufactured in a factory or processed in some way, it is GMO. Which is basically the same thing. Such is the pace of our everyday use items becoming more and more convenient and manufactured, we often overlook the fact that they are made up of harmful chemicals after all and do harm our bodies eventually.

Every now and then we come across a new research revealing that the nail polish we use every so often is actually very harmful and may even be made up of carcinogens, or the pots and cutlery we use has a certain carcinogenic substance as its coating, the plastic ware we use in the microwave is injurious to our health or the body scrub we use has tiny plastic pellets that are harmful to the environment.

We may replace the body lotion we use daily with natural oils or our shampoos with organic alternatives but there is one thing we all use, regardless of age and gender, that may not immediately come to mind while considering an all-natural and organic lifestyle – the toothbrush!

We all use it every day, some more frequently than others, yet it might not have crossed our minds that it could be harmful to us. Our mouth is highly absorbent, so chemicals lurking in toothpaste and mouthwash get a fast-track into our bloodstream. Recent research has revealed that the fluoride present in toothpaste is a leading cause of cancer. Triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), artificial sweeteners, and diethanolamine (DEA) are examples of toothpaste and mouthwash ingredients that may be toxic.

A great natural solution to our oral cleaning woes is the organic toothbrush called Miswak. The Miswak is a twig for cleaning teeth, made from the Salvadora persica tree. It is a traditional and natural alternative to the modern toothbrush. Miswak has a 7000-years long, well-documented history. It has great medicinal benefits and has anti-bacterial and anti-plaque agents. The bark contains an antibiotic which suppresses the growth of bacteria and the formation of plaque. Research shows that regular use of Miswak significantly reduces plaque, gingivitis, and growth of cariogenic bacteria. The bristles of the twig are not only better for the tooth enamel as compared to the plastic bristles of the modern toothbrush, they can reach hard-to-clean areas better than a toothbrush whereas the chemical composition of the twig aids in oral hygiene and health naturally.

Traditionally, Miswak has always been used in Muslim majority countries but brands such as Leen Sadder and some websites are now selling it in the US as well. It is better than the modern toothbrush and also eliminates the need of buying chemical-laced toothpaste. This natural alternative to the modern toothbrush and toothpaste is not just better for health, it is also better for the environment.

A 2003 scientific study comparing the use of Miswak with ordinary toothbrushes found that Miswak is better than toothpaste for reducing plaque and gingivitis, provided one had been given proper instruction in how to brush using it. The Wrigley Company published a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry which found that mints laced with Miswak extract were 20 times more effective in killing bacteria than ordinary mints. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the use of Miswak in 1986.

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