Miswak vs toothbrush: the battle of the century

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This is going to be a tough one! Miswak vs toothbrush! There is a huge difference between these two! Miswak is actually older than a toothbrush. Miswak (siwak) has been around for centuries more specifically 7000 years! The toothbrush we know today was first made in 1938 and has evolved through the years. Now we have so many variations that make us wonder which one is the best.

But we are not here to convince you to choose a miswak or a toothbrush to clean your teeth. We will give you a step-by-step of how to use both a miswak stick and a toothbrush. Also, tell you some advantages and disadvantages by comparing miswak vs toothbrush! So don’t throw away your toothbrush yet! Let’s go through this article and then you can decide!

Miswak vs toothbrush: How to clean your teeth with them

Let’s start with miswak. You can call it a natural toothbrush since it comes from a shrub or a toothbrush tree. So basically, you are dealing with a twig. You do not need to use toothpaste with miswak since it has antibacterial properties. Now, follow these steps to clean your teeth using a miswak stick.

Step 1: Trim a small part of the stick to get rid of the hard bark

Step 2: Start chewing the part that has no bark until bristles are made

Step 3: Let the bristles soak in fresh water for 5 minutes until the bristles are soft

Step 4: Your miswak is ready to use!

All right, now we are moving on to a modern toothbrush, which we are mostly used to. Let’s see how the toothbrush steps are different from a miswak. 

Step 1: Put a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste on your brush

Step 2: Start with your front teeth and brush for 20 to 30 seconds

Step 3: Move on to your molars brush the tops and around them for a few minutes

Step 4: Brush the inner surface of your teeth for a minute

Step 5: Rinse your mouth!

As you see, there is a whole lot of difference between a miswak and a conventional toothbrush. But if you think about the purpose, you see that both miswak and toothbrush serve the main purpose, which is to clean your teeth and prevent dental plaque.

Now, you might be asking “so, which one is better, toothbrush vs miswak?”. And with this question, we bring you to the next part of our article.

Dig for victory: benefits of miswak vs. toothbrush

Miswak vs toothbrush! Which one is better? To be honest, this is a difficult question to answer because there are benefits to both miswak and toothbrush. At the end of it, you have to pick your preference. With this said, let’s go through the pros and cons of each of these oral hygiene aids. We will compare miswak and toothbrush on the following features:

  • Effectiveness
  • Durability
  • Oral health benefits

The effectiveness of miswak has always been in question. Many studies have been conducted to see whether using a miswak is effective in preventing periodontal diseases or not. Throughout the years, many studies have shown that using miswak in the daily dental hygiene routine helps with the reduction of plaque and promotes gingival health. This is due to the antibacterial effects of miswak extract. You can actually get the same benefits if you switch to using a miswak-incorporated toothpaste while using a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.

Speaking of toothbrushes, the most conventional toothbrushes that we see in the market nowadays are nylon toothbrushes. They are more durable and can last for a long time but dentists recommend changing them every 3 to 4 months. This is the time that your toothbrush losses its integrity and will not be as effective as it should be when it comes to cleaning your teeth and reduction of plaque. With a miswak, it is recommended to cut it every day so this means a stick will last you almost a week. If you are a chewing stick user, this could cause a problem for you.

Another benefit of miswak can be in the antioxidant compounds that it has. Based on some research, it has been concluded that antioxidant activity could help with the prevention of oral cancer. Not only that but it could help with your periodontal health as well.

There is a gray area: the drawbacks of toothbrush vs miswak

All right, we have mentioned the benefits of miswak vs toothbrush, but there are some disadvantages, such as accessibility and frequency of replacement. Let’s talk about them.

Siwak might have more benefits than normal toothbrushes but there is a matter of resourcing. The toothbrush tree, also scientifically known as the Salvadora Persica tree, is where miswak comes from. These trees originally grow in the Middle East, Africa, and India. So finding them in most western countries could be difficult. Also due to miswak’s connection to Islam, it is most popular in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia. So, there is a matter of how easily you have access to a miswak.

Another problem that we kind of mentioned was the frequency of replacing your miswak vs toothbrush. Users of miswak chewing sticks need to get a new one almost every week. Toothbrush users might have an easier time replacing their toothbrushes.

Last but not least the disadvantages could be the fact with a toothbrush you would definitely need toothpaste to thoroughly clean your teeth but miswak has it all you just chew on it and use the extract and bristles to benefit from the antibacterial effects. It is a two-in-one!

So far, we tried to cover all the advantages and disadvantages of miswak vs toothbrush. If you have read up until here let us tell you about storing and cleaning your miswak and toothbrush.

Miswak and toothbrush: how to store and keep them clean properly

Doesn’t matter if you are a toothbrush user or a miswak user, keeping your oral hygiene aids clean and storing them properly is very important to your own oral health. Your oral hygiene tools are mostly in contact with water. If your miswak or toothbrush is not stored properly the water in them can lead to fungus and mold.

Even though studies have shown that miswak has antifungal properties that do not mean we should not care how we store and clean it. Now here are the steps to storing your oral hygiene tools.

For miswak, after you are done using it, follow these steps to make sure it will remain an effective tool for cleaning your teeth.

  • First, rinse your miswak thoroughly with water
  • Then, store it somewhere dry and preferably away from moisture.

So your bathroom is not an ideal place. You can keep your miswak in your bedroom. Also, try to avoid leaving your miswak in direct sunlight as well.

Now moving on to toothbrush. You can pretty much do the same thing as a miswak to keep your toothbrush ready to use without causing you any problems. So, after you are done brushing your teeth follow these steps:

  • Rinse your toothbrush
  • Store it in a dry and cool place to avoid any molds from forming.

We talked about the benefits and downsides of both miswak and toothbrushes. Other related topics such as how to use and store them properly. We hope it has been helpful. Now if you want to see what all the hype is about miswak by all means give it a try.

You might find it useful when it comes to your oral hygiene maintenance. But to claim that miswak is the best thing to use for your dental hygiene is a bit of an exaggeration. So take it with a pinch of salt. A lot of dentists are still doing clinical studies on “miswak vs toothbrush”. Our recommendation to you is to talk with your dentist before deciding to switch any of your oral hygiene practices.

We at Dentfix try to keep you up to date and catch you up with the latest information related to dental care! Do not hesitate to reach out to us for more information! A perfect smile is guaranteed with Dentfix!


-Ramli, Haslinda et al. “The effectiveness of miswak (Salvadora persica L. and Azadirachta indica A.Juss.) practices in reducing plaque and gingivitis among adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 298 (2022): 115598. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2022.115598 Link

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