In developed nations including the U.S., people commonly use electric or nylon toothbrushes to clean their teeth.
But did you know there are developing nations and indigenous cultures that still use ancient techniques to clean their teeth?
These individuals often use animal bones, feathers, sticks, porcupine quills, or twigs to keep their oral health top-notch.
This reality may at times question if the modern oral hygiene products and teeth cleaning techniques we use today truly are better.
The Role of Diet on Oral Health
Aside from the latter, we also question if our daily diet truly plays a crucial role in determining oral hygiene.
Sometimes we wonder if indigenous societies that don’t consume the junk foods and sugars we do still need to brush their teeth.
According to a 2010 study in the British Medical Journal, people who brush their teeth less than two times per day have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This is primarily due to loss of bone support and inflammation of the teeth. The same study found that people who brush their teeth less than twice a day have an approximate 70 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the diets of the participants in the study were not considered.
Meanwhile, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Falcon, states that in communities without access to Western foods, a myriad of indigenous people have no dental problems. And the amazing thing is, is that even though they brush less often, they can still confidently smile.
Is it True that There Are Still People in Regions that Do Not Use Toothbrushes?
In several regions, there are still people who clean their teeth using twigs, usually from neem or oak trees. Arab Bedouin tribes are known to clean their teeth using the twigs from the arak tree. These twigs actually contain antiseptic properties. On the other hand, African and Muslim cultures utilize miswak, which naturally contains a high concentration of fluoride.
An article on the National Academy of Dentistry site states that Hindu priests and Brahmins use cherry wood to clean their teeth. They face the sun when doing this and brush for about an hour. Furthermore, there is a religious group in India, Jains, who prefer to use their fingers when cleaning their teeth. Some Indians will even use the twigs from coconut, cashew, and mango trees to brush their pearly whites.
The latter facts may be surprising for many of us. But let us not only focus on what different people do in cleaning their teeth. What actually matters is we are watchful of our diets and look after our teeth and gums to keep them in good condition.