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Before toothbrushes came into the market, Indians used neem sticks to brush teeth. And yes, it is actually a very healthy practice.
Even now, in many rural areas, people still prefer neem twigs as they do a better job in maintaining oral hygiene. Some studies even claim that people who rely on neem can reduce the risk of certain dental problems.
There are more than 130 active compounds present in the neem tree. That is why almost all parts of the neem tree are said to be useful in some or the other way.
Neem leaves, seeds, bark, flowers, fruits, root and even the twigs are used in some or the other way in rural places. Neem contains anti-carcinogenic, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, antimalarial, anti-viral and antioxidant properties too.
If you are surprised, then here are some more facts about neem sticks and their role in dental health.
How It Works
Neem twigs contain medicinal properties. The corners of the neem twig are chewed first. During the process, the chewed corners work like the bristles of a brush. They clean the corners of the teeth.
As neem contains anti-microbial properties, chewing the twig can prevent plaque formation. The bitter taste of the neem also fights bad breath.
It Whitens Teeth
Chewing neem sticks also whitens the teeth. Chemical teeth whiteners can damage teeth but neem has only good things to offer.
How They Use It
Generally, thin and flexible twigs are used. The length of the sticks can be around 15 cm. The skin of the twig is peeled. It should be chewed at one corner. The fibers of the twig loosen a bit and work like a brush.
Why To Chew?
The process of chewing it is also important as it releases the medicinal agents present in the neem twig.
The saliva that gets secreted after the neem twig comes into contact with your tongue contains antibacterial agents that kill harmful microbes in your mouth. This practice also reduces inflammation. Spit the saliva.
When moving the stick to clean your teeth, be very careful as the hardness of the fibers could hurt your delicate gums. After you finish brushing teeth, spit the fibers that get stuck in your teeth.
You can use the twig only once. After you finish the brushing, you can split the twig and use it as a tongue cleaner. This way, neem twigs work like tooth brushes.