Other Posts You May Like

Monday, July 1, 2013

Want Fresh Breath? Chew on This.

Over the years, I have always had an interest in how the modern items we tend to take for granted came to be and how people used to handle basic household chores and personal hygiene. "Why?" You might ask. I do not know, I was just fascinated by the topic. One of the items I have always wanted to know about was the toothbrush. The story goes that the modern thing we call a toothbrush was not really invented until 1938.

I know that clean teeth and fresh breath would probably have been at the top of the list years ago the first time someone woke up with the dreaded morning breath!  This begs the question, how did people clean their teeth and freshen their breath. The answer leads back to our good friends herbs and spices.

Throughout much of Africa, India, and Asia, chewsticks were used. These chewsticks were made from plants or roots that were known for their medicinal properties.  There over 300 known species in East Africa alone that are used as chewsticks. In other parts of the world, folks chewed on licorice, orange, lime, cinnamon, tea trees, or cloves. In the Middle East,  the saltbrush bush (also known as the toothbrush tree) was used. In North America, Native Americans and early Americans settlers used sassafras root or even birch bark or branches.

It is said that using the chewsticks are superior to using a toothbrush.  Nah! How could that be? If it is modern, it has to be better, right? For starters, the chewing action stimulates the gums and helps remove particles left in teeth. In addition, chewing releases the germ fighting, breath freshening, compounds in the sticks. When combined with saliva, they form a sort of "homemade" mouthwash to help coat and protect your teeth and gums. Want more? Many of the sugars contained in the chewsticks help suppress the feeling of hunger and aid those trying to quit smoking. Now, can your toothbrush do all of that?

The best way to use the chewsticks is to chew or whittle off a little of the bark of a Licorice stick (carried at Bazaar Spices, wink, wink). Then, use your teeth to create a little brush at the end of the stick.  You can then rub the "brush" on your teeth or just chew on the stick for as little or as long as you like.  I have found myself chewing on my licorice chewstick a couple of times a day. I find it sweet and satisfying. Not in the same way as eating a doughnut, but more subtle. Don't worry, I still use my toothbrush, but it's great to know that if I can not find a supermarket with my favorite toothbrush, I can always reach for a good chewstick to keep my teeth clean and my breath fresh.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You can read more tips and services shared by Dentzz clinic on the various informative presentations shared for better insights. They have lot of informative ppts which will help to know more about dental hygiene, tips and ways to maintain your oral care.