It took me 30 years and almost 2 teeth to understand the importance of flossing.
Last year when I visited the dentist for toothache she advised me to start flossing. ‘How many times a week‘ I, the naïve asked. She laughed and responded “ideally twice a DAY”.
I thought ‘what a joke! I have hardly ever flossed in my entire life and survived till date. I should be good for next 30years as well’.
Needless to say, I was wrong.
After having lost a tooth and almost losing the other too, I decided to take the doctor’s advice about flossing and using a mouthwash daily. It was almost a hassle and the gums bled, but then we just got into rhythm. me and my mouth. It is remarkable now, I kind of look forward to this pre-sleeping ritual, a clean mouth definitely feels awesome.
In the beginning I would brush my teeth and then floss – and I would be surprised at the food particles that would still come out from somewhere between the teeth even after the thorough brushing.
The science is simple: What brushing cannot achieve is cleaning the sides of our teeth and area near the gumline, this is where the food particles can remain and breed bacteria. If this bacteria biofilm is allowed to stay in our mouth it can go ahead to even change the chemistry of our mouth, causing gum and tooth infections, cavities and even tooth loss.
It gives me shudder every time I rinse my mouth, to think what all those food particles could do to my teeth.
And all these years I thought brushing was enough!
So how did all the people in the history have good teeth? I mean those who HAD good teeth? did they floss?
Yes. but maybe not a lot. They knew another secret – *drumrolls*
well.. Miswak. which it is the oldest known oral hygiene tool that has unique pharmacological and therapeutic benefits. In modern terms, you can say, Miswak is Toothbrush & floss combined or, as studies show, perhaps even more than that – It performs the dual function; the plant fiber acts like toothbrush in mechanically controlling plaque while one rubs it on their teeth and it also prevents the plaque formation because of its chemical composition.
It is sad that we, muslims, take personal hygiene so lightly, when Islam places so much importance on ‘cleanliness and hygiene’. Specially oral hygiene, that even 15 centuries ago Prophet Muhammad ﷺ made it a virtue to clean one’s teeth, The Salah (Act of worship) is said to be 70 times superior if one has used Miswak (tooth brush like teeth cleaning Twig) before it.
I wondered if toothpaste can be used as a counterpart to Miswak’s chemical composition? A good alternative maybe. But Miswak definitely stands out. its natural and organic. Further, studies at National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is a part of the United States National Library of Medicine have found out that Miswak is composed of antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti plaque and antiseptic agents along with Vit C that has the healing power and its natural. Another recent study by Patel PV et al. showed significant improvement in plaque score and gingival health when miswak was used as an adjunct to tooth brushing. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
*jaw drops in amazement*.
I don’t know why we don’t use more miswak?
In short: Use Miswak. Or at least start flossing!