The Siwak is one tool of hygiene which holds particular importance in Islam. It is a simple twig for cleaning the teeth, originating from the desert but popularised for ever more by the example and directives of the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala. It is no exaggeration to say that Rasulullah [PBUH] is the first dental educator in proper oral hygiene in history. The Prophet’s Siwak of choice was from the Arak (Aloes tree or Salvadora Persica).
The Siwak is a natural twig fortified with natural minerals that help clean the teeth, other inhibitors that prevent gums from bleeding, cleaning agents that kill microbes and germs and remove plaque, and a scent that gives breath a naturally fresh smell. The Siwak is an ideal, natural brush that has been endowed with more than any artificial toothpaste could ever have. The wicks on the Siwak clean between the teeth and do not break under any amount of pressure; rather, they are flexible and strong. The small wicks bend to the appropriate shape to get plaque and leftover food out from in between teeth while avoiding any damage to the gums. The Siwak is comprised of many beneficial ingredients. Most significant among them are:
– Antibacterial acidic inhibitors that fight decay. They are natural disinfectants and can be used to stop bleeding. They disinfect the gums and teeth and close any microscopic cuts that may have existed in the gums. On first usage, the Siwak will taste harsh, and maybe even burn, because of a mustard-like substance found in it, but this is the ingredient that fights decay in the mouth and kills germs.
– Minerals such as sodium chloride, potassium, sodium bicarbonate and calcium oxides. These clean the teeth. The American Dental Association considers sodium bicarbonate to be a preferred ingredient in toothpastes.
– Natural scented oils that taste and smell nice, give the mouth a pleasant smell. They make up about 1% of the Siwak.
– Enzymes that prevent the build-up of plaque that causes gum disease. Plaque is also the no. 1 cause of premature loss of teeth.
– Anti-decay and anti-germ ingredients that act as a penicillin of sorts, decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth, which means cleaner teeth and cleaner air when breathing through the mouth.
The presence of these properties has actually encouraged some toothpaste laboratories to incorporate powdered stems and/or root material of Salvadora Persica in their products.