During excavations of many areas all over the world, we have learned of the history of oral hygiene. Archeologists have discovered that the oral hygiene of most ancient people must have been very good because their remains were found to have basically all of their teeth! Of course, they also ate real food. However, they didn’t have modern toothpaste, mouthwash, whitening strips, etc. How did they maintain good oral health? From historical research we have learned of many cultures, and how they cleaned their mouths. The ancient Egyptians created a toothpaste that was found in their tombs and was made of rock salt, mint, dried flowers, and pepper. Many of our ancestors from the Caribbean, the Americas, Asia, Africa, etc. used the twigs of special trees for oral hygiene. The neem tree, arak, hibiscus twigs, licorice root or bark, dogwood twigs, or peelu, also known as the toothbrush tree, were all used. Our blessed Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) used miswak. There are many Hadiths (traditions that describe his actions and sayings) which explain the benefits of miswak and the necessity of a healthy oral cavity. Some of the numerous properties of miswak are that it sharpens the memory, strengthens the gums, cures illness, adds barakah (blessings) to your salah, (prayer) and strengthens the eyesight. Having a healthy mouth promotes wellness. There are many methods of cleaning the oral canal and we will look at few. One of the biggest challenges in oral health care is knowing just how important it is.
Upon rising, it is a good idea to clean the tongue. While sleeping, the body detoxifies, and the tongue is an area of detoxification. In the morning, many impurities have collected on the tongue, teeth and gums. Cleansing it clears toxins and bacteria and also stimulates the internal organs, increases digestive health, removes food particles, and removes coatings on the tongue, which prevents bad breath. One method of cleaning the tongue is scraping. It can be done with a smooth piece of metal called a tongue scraper. These devices are made of copper or sterling silver, and they are relatively inexpensive. People are also known to clean their tongues with small stainless steel spoons. You can also brush the tongue with baking soda and a tooth brush.
Oil pulling is another form of cleansing. When oil cleaning, you can use the oil of your choice. Many people use sesame seed oil, however coconut and olive oil can be used also. When oil pulling (cleansing the mouth using oil), you put one or two teaspoons of oil into your mouth on an empty stomach [this is most effective, and the best method]. You swish this mixture around in the mouth for 20 minutes, being careful not to ingest any of the fluid building up in the mouth, as it is full of impurities. This is a very good form of purifying the body because it pulls poisons out quickly. Some side effects may be a runny nose, skin lightening, release in head congestion, sinuses clearing, better digestion and extra bowel movements.
Toothpaste is another form of oral hygiene. However, most of them keep dentists and doctors in business. They are loaded with impurities. Toothpaste is not an edible or ingestible product. There are warnings posted right on the label of most of them. Their list of side effects is frightening: heart ailments, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, dementia, and “call the poison hotline if ingested”. The majority of them contain the following:
- Artificial color blue no.1- This ingredient affects the immune reaction, similar to allergies, and it also causes kidney tumors in mice. You can also find this dye in Skittles and M&M’s.
- Sodium Fluoride – it causes heart, kidney, and thyroid diseases
- Sodium Saccharin – causes bladder cancer.
- Triclosan – interferes with hormones, causing cancer and brain disorders.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (S.L.S) – this makes toothpaste foam up. It also makes the teeth sensitive to metal, and makes you more vulnerable to cold sores.
There are natural tooth pastes, powders, and washes. Here is a special recipe our Murshid prescribed for use:
Sufi Master, Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani’s Tooth Powder:
Start with organic corn cob, the cobs have to be roasted until they turn completely black; they should then be allowed to set out to dry, no moisture should be in them. After they have dried, grinded it into a powder, the corn cobs are reduced to charcoal. Alum (aluminum potassium sulfate) is an astringent. The alum has to be burnt. When alum is burning it leaves an unpleasant odor. It also turns into a liquid. After the liquid has dissipated, the drying out of the alum takes place. Scrape it from the pan and measure it. This prescriptions calls for equal portions of both ingredients.
Charcoal is very effective at pulling away toxins, and it brightens the teeth. It is a must to have in every home because it removes poisons from the body quickly. It has been made with bamboo stems, coconut shells, pecan shells, and olive pits – all natural substances that are not harmful to the body.
As a side note, alum, with its astringent property, is also used to purify water, remove eye abscesses, canker sores, head lice, and as a hair remover. It is a powerful antiseptic and has anti-bacterial properties.
In summary, good oral hygiene is necessary to maintain overall good health and should never be neglected.