Teeth cleaning twig

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"chew stick" redirects here. For other uses, see Chewstick.
Man in West Africa brushing teeth using a chewing stick.

A teeth cleaning twig, twig toothbrush, bush toothbrush, tooth twig, chew stick, or chewing stick is a tool made from a twig from a tree with antimicrobial properties. It can thus help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

History[edit]

Chew sticks were twigs with a frayed end used to brush against the teeth,[1] while the other end was used as a toothpick.[2] The earliest chew sticks were discovered in Babylonia in 3500 BC,[2] an Egyptian tomb dating from 3000 BC.[1] and mentioned in Chinese records dating from 1600 BC.[2] In Africa, chew sticks are made from the tree salvadora persica, also known as the "toothbrush tree."

Twigs used[edit]

Teeth cleaning twigs can be obtained from a variety of tree species. Although many trees are used in the production of teeth cleaning twigs, some trees are better suited to clean and protect the teeth, due to the chemical composition of the plant parts. The tree species are:[3][4][5][6][7]

Advantages[edit]

When compared to toothbrushes, teeth cleaning twigs have several advantages:

  • Reported similar dental protection as toothbrushes [9]
  • More ecological in its life-cycle
  • Lower cost (0-16% of the cost of a toothbrush[10])
  • Independence from external supplier if made at home from privately owned trees
  • Low maintenance, with some twigs need moistening with water if they become dry, to ensure the end is soft. The end may be cut afresh to ensure hygiene, and should not be stored near a sink. The twig is replaced every few weeks to maintain proper hygiene.
  • No need for toothpaste
  • Can combat bad breath (e.g. Cinnamon[11])

Disadvantages[edit]

  • Over extensive scrubbing can damage the gums [12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Panati, Charles (2013). Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things. HarperCollins. pp. 208–209. ISBN 978-0-06-227708-4. 
  2. ^ a b c Yu, Hai-Yang; Qian, Lin-Mao; Zheng, Jing (2013). Dental Biotribology. Springer. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-1-4614-4550-0. 
  3. ^ "Neem tree as teeth cleaning twig". Batplants.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Natural twigs used as teeth cleaning twigs". Naturaltoothbrush.com. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  5. ^ "Neem tree as teeth cleaning twig 2". Neem-products.com. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  6. ^ "Natural toothbrush twigs". Naturallygreen.co.uk. 2007-09-15. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  7. ^ "Natural toothbrush overview". Nzherald.co.nz. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  8. ^ Fletcher, Pascal (Jun 18, 2007). "African twig brushes offer all-day dental care". Reuters. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "Christine D. Wu reporting equal results of dental protection in comparisment tooth twig-toothbrush". Nzherald.co.nz. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  10. ^ "Commercial teeth cleaning twig at 8-16% of toothbrush cost, twig from private owned tree at 0". Nzherald.co.nz. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  11. ^ "Commercial cinnamon toothpicks can freshen up breath". Cinnamonfresh.com. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  12. ^ "Over extensive scrubbing damages gums". Nzherald.co.nz. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2011-01-17.