'Stick' to clean teeth

The much derided chewing stick has finally found a proponent

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- WHILE our markets are ad with tooth- brushes pas of all sizes and a. dae suggemon to up a stick might I aboard. More so, Vast studies have alked chewing for having ill- effects ma ord and dental health ML Fiat instance, a P im Glmna tinked 111eque formation me bleeding to the ior of chewing sticks. Similarly, or smaly in Saudi Arabia reported aberrations like tooth wear, ir amAbdal pockets, gum recession Imimm and inflammation due to immil me of chewmg sticks.

As reported by World Health Forum, Vol 16 No 2. 1995, a Saudi Arabian ih mmia working at the King Saud Nk of Dentistry, recently all ando reports as baseless, by oft &e usefulness of chewing Jim wommusining oral and dental Hygene.

The leader leader Khalid Almas has confirmed abot chewing sticks contain lcmeatiments proven effective bygmene. Besides, the fibrous n9dwe natural toothbriishes eb gillikiently, thus removing plaque in Surface.

Derived from spongy roots or stems Of some fibrous plants, chewing sticks Are already "mintimms for toothbrushes in id mew of developing countries a in dwir emy availability and A sear, chewing sticks require limmmuces or expertise in pro dian making them affordable smeal 1611L Some common of diese sticks are lime trees and orange trees 4 in West Africa, roots of vmmea) among the Black as of African laburnum eek) in Sierra Leone, and uJime btdica) in the Indian subcontinent.

The fact that the act of chewing soft, fresh sticks releases sap that bears immense medicinal value, has now been established. Researchers have confirmed that silica present in many chewing sticks acts as an abrasive to clean teeth, alkaloids present in them kill bacteria preventing cavity formation, and some essential oils present in the sticks bear anti-infammatory action on the gums. Moreover, these oils show analgesic and anaesthetic properties, helping in relieving toothaches. Tannins and resins present in many sticks have an astringent effect on the mucous membrane, and also give protection against caries by forming a layer over the tooth enamel.

Besides, a high fluoride content fights cavity formation by reaching sites susceptible to cavities. By chewing sticks pits, the fissures and interproximal areas in teeth receive fresh flouride bearing sap, thereby protecting the enarriel from bacterial attack.

Other advantages pointed out by researchers include exercise to the jaws by chewing sticks, copious oral secretion useful for oral hygiene and general health, combating undesirable habits like smoking and thumb sucking, and helping in children's teething process. Besides, scrapping the bristles of chewing sticks on tongue helps control bad breath and removes white coating on tongue.

"The use of chewing sticks conforms with the notion of primary health care and has long established associations with certain cultural and religious beliefs," says Almas. Regular usage of chewing sticks is part of a devout Muslim's daily religious routine; besides, many people simply use it as an integral part of a long-held tradition. In fact, some companies in Egypt, Pakistan, India, Switzerland and the UK have even used chewing sticks for manufacturing toothpastes.

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