SIWAK-AS AN ORAL HEALTH DEVICE (PRELIMINARY CHEMICAL AND CLINICAL EVALUATION)
By Dr. M. Ragaii El-Mostehy, Dr. A.A.Al-Jassem, Dr. I.A.Al-Yassin, Dr.A.R;
El-Gindy and Dr. E. Shoukry
A variety of oral hygiene measures have been performed since the dawn of time. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which toothpicks, chewsticks, tree twigs, linen strips, birds' feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered 1.
Those that originated from plants are tasty twigs and although primitive they represented a transitional step towards the modern toothbrush. It has been stated that about seventeen plants could be enumerated as natural sources for several of these oral hygiene devices 2.
The most widely used tree twigs since early times is the ..Siwak" or ..Miswak" 3 .The stick is obtained from a plant called Salvadore Persica that grows around Mecca and the Middle East area in general. It is widely used among Moslems after Prophet Mohammed ( pbuh ) realised its value as a device which should be used by Moslems to clean their teeth. In this respect our Prophet ( pbuh ) is considered the first dental educator in proper oral hygiene.
there is no reference to the use of Siwak in Al-Quran, yet several quotations
could be read in the compendium of the sayings of Mohammed ( pbuh ) as
to the benefits of Siwak in mouth cleanlinesss. One saying reads as follows:
Persica is in fact a small tree or shrub with a crooked trunk, seldom
more than one foot in diamete, bark scabrous and cracked, whitish with
pendulous extrimities. The root bark is light brown and the inner surfaces
are white, odour like cress and taste is warm and pungent. Chemically
the air dried stem bark os S. Persica is extracted with 80% alcohol and
then extracted with ether and run through exhaustive chemical procedures.
This showed that it is composed of:
PURPOSE OF THE PRESENT INVESTIGATION:
of the great quality of oral cleanliness noticed in individuals who use
Siwak as the sole device to brush their teeth and because of the low incidence
of dental decay of those individuals this work was undertaken.
Oral hygiene and patient motivation towards a clean mouth owe their birth to the teachings of Moh mmed (pbuh). Due to the repeated use of Siwak during the day, the users showed an unusually high level of oral cleanliness. It is a well known fact that plaque formed immediately after meticulous toothbrushing. By the end of 24 hours the plaque is well on its way towards maturation and hence starts its dJliterious effects on the gingiva 8.
oral hygiene should be maintained through intensive instructions by the
periodontist as well as by a great expenditure of time and dexterity on
part of the patient. This item is self corrected in Moslems because Siwak
users take Siwak as a device that should be used as part of their religious
starch is not quite accurate but it was meant to evaluate the degree by
which Siwak and powdered Siwak could rid teeth of deposits as compared
to the best abrasive viz. commerical powder.
It has been reported that Salvadora Persica contains substances that possess antibacterial properties Some other components are astringents, detergents and abrasives 8. Those properties encourage some toothpaste laboratories to incorporate powdered stems and/or root material of Salvadora persica in their roducts (Beckenham U.K. Sarakan Ltd.).
Although the commercial powder gave a high degree of efficiency in plaque removal yet its use over the experimental period gave a high score of gingivitis percentage within the group using the powder. It is time that plaque eradication is essential but this should not be on the expense of deletirious side effect on other tissues.
It could be concluded that Siwak and powdered Siwak are excellent tools for oral cleanliness. Beca se of its availability in this part of the world, being inexpensive and readily adopted by Moslems as part f their religious regimen, it is highly recommended in implementing a preventive dental health program Islamic countries. Also recommendations should be directed to manufacturers of toothpastes to include the powdered form of Siwak in a highly debriding sophisticated toothpaste.