Miswak – مسواك
Miswak is an aromatic, sharp tasted twig that is used to clean the teeth, gums and tongue. It has been used for thousands of years and it‘s still common to see among muslims.
Since ancient time, People of the Arabian Peninsula, east Africa and the Indian subcontinent have been using different tools to keep their mouths fresh. The twig used as a toothbrush is known in Arabic as Miswak or Siwak and there are different types of plants to get them. However; Arak trees is the most popular source. They mainly grow in the southern region of the arabian peninsula in Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The use of Miswak in muslim countries in Public is socially accepted. In fact, it is “Sunnah” refering to the daily practice of the prophet Mohammad (PBUH), who encouraged the use of Siwak on a daily basis.
There are many benifits of the use of Siwak. It can be cleaner than a traditional toothbrush, because after each use, the tip of miswak can be chopped off and a reused with a new, bacteria-free tip. Furthermore, using miswak doesn’t require water, so it‘s a solution to reduce the daily water consumption. The twig is also very tiny and portable; therefore it can easily be used after meals when you’re not at home.
Nowadays, Siwak is more common to see during during the fasting month of Ramadan, since a dry month during the fasting period can cause a bad mouth smell.
Not only is Siwak more affordable (1 to 3 Saudi Riyals each) and practical when compared with modern day toothbrushes, it is even environmentally friendly and 100% biodegradable.
The Miswak is one of the greatest bonds to ancient civilizations, so every time you use it, you‘d in fact be brushing with a piece of history!
How to use it
1- Use a knife or front tooth to trim about 1~2 cm off the tip.
2- peel the trimmed tip.
3- chew on the bristles.
4- after a couple of uses you can cut the old tip, repeat the steps and reuse it.
Where to buy it
Fresh Miswak‘s (Arabic Plural: Masaweek) are usually sold in front of mosques before and after prayer times, especially in big mosques as Turki bin Abdullah grand mosque at Qasr Al Hokm .
Packed ones can be purchased from many pharmacies accross the country and in Recent years, some shops are specialized in selling Miswak and some other related products. One of the best shops that pffers such products is Miswak Al Arak. Click here for the location.