Just when you thought you’ve heard of every green-living tip, another one surfaces, as in the case of the “chew stick” natural toothbrush. Born out of sheer necessity, the chew stick is made from frayed wood twigs, a renewable resource. Chewing on this twig until the ends become frayed and can therefore be used as a toothbrush, promotes good oral hygiene, keeps gums healthy and cleans teeth.
Some health food stores in the United States sell “chew sticks”
Traditional stick or twig toothbrushes have been around for awhile and are very earth-friendly. When it’s time to dispose of the old one it is completely biodegradable, as the whole “stick” will easily return to the earth in an all natural decomposing process. Some health food stores in the United States have been selling “chew sticks” as a natural toothbrush. While helping in the “sweet breath” department, they also whiten teeth and are a lower price than the plastic version.
The eco-friendly toothbrush helps fight gum disease
Made of different types of “pencil-stick” sized wood, some studies suggest that they are at least as effective as the more costly plastic versions and may even clean better as some contain an anti-microbial liquid that comes out of the wood. This substance helps to fights bacteria that could cause tooth and gum disease.
Names for some of the eco-friendly “chew stick” toothbrushes
“Sothiou”” is the Senegal name used for this chew stick, which, in the wolof language, means “to clean.” “Mswaki” is the east African Swahili word and it means toothbrush.
Woods used for the eco-friendly toothbrush
The “Dakaar” chew stick is a knotty deep brown wood and “Werek” is from the gum tree. A softer wood with a sweet taste is the “Cola” and there is even one to ease toothache, the “Neep-Neep.” From the Neem tree comes the licorice root believed to help with gastrointestional and urinary problems.
Chew sticks with different stories
“Mataukel” could bring good luck because it is cut from a bush where deer feed. In cooking the energy-giving dish Laakh, a liquid is used from a certain wood and the “chew-stick” from this same wood is called, “Scoumpou.”
Recently chew sticks have even been used as aids to help break the tobacco smoking habit. Some Americans use this natural toothbrush alternative every day in their quest to live greener and be more earth-friendly.