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Oral And Dental Hygiene: Using Chewing Sticks To Clean The Mouth

Updated on February 28, 2012

Oral care can assume a new dimension filled with fun and diversification. This is as evident in the use of Chewing sticks to clean the mouth instead of all the other popular methods that includes: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Mouth wash, etc. Am sure you will be able to agree with me by the time you must have completed reading this Article.

Antimicrobial effects of chewing sticks

The Antimicrobial properties of Chewing stick are well documented. One of such is the result from the research carried out on the Ethiopian Chewing stick called the Zana. South African Dental Association Researchers found out that as little as 0.25-4.00mg/ml concentration of the extract can kill Bacteria.

The Antimicrobial properties of the Neem tree is also well documented. Chewing sticks made from this source has a characteristic taste and smell that differs from other sources. It also gives a rather foamy sensation that brings the user close to the Toothbrush-Toothpaste duo.

Advantages of using chewing sticks

There are so many great advantages of using chewing sticks. Some are as follows:

• Removes debris and Plaques from places where Toothbrushes can't get to.

• Can be used in social settings. That is it does not restrict mouth cleaning process to the Bathroom. But can be used outside while chatting and doing other things with other people.

• It is very cheap and can be applied to very poor communities where Toothbrush and Toothpaste may be too expensive.

• It's a good substitute for people who are unable to floss, brush or wash the mouth.

• It is fun because it removes the seriousness and task in the process of cleaning the mouth.

• It can be used as an instrument for quitting smoking. Specially designed models like the 'Australian Tea tree chewing stick' can reduce the high tendency to inhale Nicotine.

• It's a great substitute in places with limited Oral facilities.

• Chewing Sticks can also train the teeth, giving it strength and resilience.

• Ultimately, it produces a shiny sparkling Teeth.

Plants used for making chewing sticks

The beautiful thing about the Chewing stick is that it is not restricted to one plant source. Every area where the practice is popular are blessed with one or more unique plant source. Luckily, we have been able to identify the following for you:

• Citrus Trees - This is especially Lime and Orange tree. People are known to mostly get their chewing sticks from this source.

• Neem Tree - This is one of the uses of the Neem tree. It is popular in Indian and countries in that vicinity.

• African Laburnum - People in Sierra Leone were known to have derived oral health from this source.

• Roots of the Senna - American Negroes were said to have derived Chewing sticks from this plant.

• Napoleonaea imperialis - This is the most popular source of Chewing stick in Nigeria. The plant spreads from Nigeria to as far as the Congo. It is also said to be found in Angola.

Plantation tea tree chewing sticks

The Plantation Tea Tree chewing Stick is a commercially available Australian chewing stick made from Birchwood, primarily impregnated with Tea tree oil and infused with other natural extracts that includes: Cinnamon, Menthol, Peppermint and Fennel. It's produced with special oral health inputs that goes beyond the ordinary. Apart from having the general characteristics of normal chewing sticks, you can also find some unique attributes as folows:

• It contains an essential oil called Melaleuca alternifolia that is known to kill odour-causing bacteria that inhabits between Teeth.

• The Menthol and Peppermint leaves the breath fresh and clean

• The Tree tea oil gives it a great aftertaste and an enjoyable flavour

• Designed specially with taste and flavours to help reduce the affinity with Cigarettes

• It is made from renewable source

How to use chewing sticks

Chewing Sticks are usually carved out of Woods, Stems or roots in a size range of 15 to 30cm. The stick is held at one end with some part of the other end placed into the mouth where it is chewed into a fibrous brush-like fringe. The process of chewing involves continuous mixing and softening with Saliva, in a process that is often absent-minded in most of the time duration.

When the brush is formed the fringe is used to scrub the surface of the inner and outer parts of the Teeth. The process of scrubbing involves vertical and horizontal strokes which can remove plaques. The scrubbing process also extends to the surface of the Tongue.

One important feature is that the fringe keeps breaking out in the process with the user always spitting out the pieces. Finally, water is used to rinse the mouth, and the process is complete.

History of chewing sticks

Using Chewing sticks for oral hygiene is a very old practice. Recorded evidence is of the opinion that the Babylonians used it to care for their mouth as far back as 7000BC. There was also reports on the use in early empires such as the Middle East, Roman and Greek. The Israelites, Ethiopians and Egyptians, were also said to have widely used it in the old days.

Although the use of the Chewing stick for mouth-care is still practiced to a small extent in Arab nations, it is Nigeria and Ethiopia that are today regarded as countries where it is mostly used. Such use can also be traced to the early days that could be earlier than the era of the Babylonians except that there are no documented evidence than some citations in History were people in Sierra Leone and American Negroes were said to have used Chewing sticks.

Please take the Chewing stick Dental Quiz here:

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    • James Agbogun profile image

      James Agbogun 5 years ago

      Nice one Udegor Joseph! It is true that Chewing stick does have its own advantages when compared to synthetic materials.

    • profile image

      Udegor joseph(student, auchi polytechnic) 5 years ago

      To me chewstick has been in existence even before the so-called toothbrush came in to play. Chewstick is an antimicrobial fighter be it bacteria or fungi, our fore father,s has been making use of it and up till now as teeth cleanser because these our toothbrushes are not 100% reliable in mouth cleaning, there may be made from artificial substance not like the chewstick made of natural chemical and physical properties.

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