A miswak is used widely in Asia and the Middle East. This is a small stick with which the teeth are rubbed and cleaned. The end is shaped into a brush through biting or chewing, which serve to separate the fibres and release the healing herbal powers of the twig. Miswak comes from the Salvadora Persica or peelu tree.
American Indians used fresh bark from the prickly ash tree to clean their teeth. The sap from this tree kills bacteria. Mojave Desert Indians used twigs from the cresote bush and rural villagers in India used the neem tree.
Some advantages of the miswak are that is does not require toothpaste, water or a special area to use it, and can be easily carried in one’s purse or pocket. It is also disposable and biodegradable – therefore, it is the ultimate environmentally safe toothbrush. Some people believe that it works better than a toothbrush and toothpaste.