Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
MISWAK - THE ANCIENT TOOTHBRUSH
Miswak is a tan-colored stick, which is used by Muslims to clean the teeth and freshen the breath. The normal source of the miswak is the root of the arak tree (salvadora persica), which is found in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Chad and parts of India. In places where the arak tree is not available, other trees are used. For example, in Morocco, strips of bark are used.
The Miswak is used without toothpaste and can be used at any time and any place. It is almost always used after wudu (ablution) and before salat. It is also acceptable to use while one is fasting.
The Miswak contains natural antiseptics, which kill harmful microorganisms in the mouth; tannic acid, which protects the gums from diseas; and aromatic oils, which increase salivation.
The Miswak is best used when fresh and flexible. After a time, it loses its moisture and dries out. If this happens, or if it is obtained dried out, it can be soaked in water for a few hours. Use of the Miswah involves removal of the outside bark, chewing the bristles to separate them and then rubbing the teeth in an up-and-down motion. It is easy to reach all the teeth and between the teeth using the Miswak.
The Miswak does not need cleaning. As the bristles dry out, they can be soaked in water or they can be cut-off and a new section prepared for use.
(Information extracted from www.arab.net under the Saudi culture section)
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