I tried to follow the directions of my dentist – use an electric toothbrush, floss and use a mouthwash, but the problem remained. I decided to do some research. I found a few home remedies on the internet (www.earthclinic.com proved to be a particularly helpful source). The first thing I tried was a rather strange process called “oil pulling” which claims to help with dental problems. Nourished Mama has also spoken about this here. I didn’t find this made much difference to my teeth, although others have. Instead, I found it cleared out phlegm (the first few times you do this, all sorts of grossness comes out - this effect is particularly strong in asthmatics), helped my skin keep clear as it stopped me getting spots. It also stopped colds and sniffles from developing (meaning I have not been catching things off my kids except where I have not been doing the cold-pulling for a few days).
The above benefits meant that although it didn’t really help my teeth, I kept the oil-pulling up. Another suggestion I came across on thieved from earthclinic website was for propolis, a substance derived from bee hives. I had to hunt around for a supplement that was gelatine free (I used this seventh wave brand). On trying propolis, I found that my energy levels soared and I was getting exhausted by bedtime. The teeth issue was still there though.
Last year I promised myself I would start using miswak. It is such an important sunnah and one I kept planning to engage in, but not quite getting round to. I remembered that during hajj a few years back, I had a nasty infection in my throat and tried the strongest antibiotics I could get over the counter to no effect. My husband bought some little sticks of miswak and got me to try one. I found every single time I used it, the phlegm in my throat would disappear and my throat would be soothed.
This ramadan , I made it one of my goals to use miswak. I made sure I had no more than three easy goals so that I could stick to them and this was one of them. Initially my excuse was that I found it hard to use. In the end I just took the plunge and wandered about with it in my mouth till I got used to it. I tried to use it before I made wudhu and at bedtime. Before the end of Ramadan, I saw a clear difference in my teeth – my gums had grown back! Where I could clearly see they had been receding, they now looked normal. I also found that after many years, I no longer had bleeding gums.
Alhamdulillah, miswak is often overlooked in a way othersunnah’s are not, including by myself. Yet, the benefits of it are so great as is the reward:
Ibn Umar (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:
'Make a regular practice of the Miswaak, for verily, it is healthy for the mouth and it is a Pleasure for the Creator (i.e. Allah is pleased with the Muslim who uses the Miswaak)'." (Bukhari)
"Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: 'Was it not for my fear of imposing a difficulty on my Ummah I would have ordered that the Miswaak be used for every Salaat'." (Bukhari)
Hadhrat Ibn Umar (RA) says that many a time Rasulullah used the Miswaak as much as four times in a single night. Hadhrat Aishah (RA) narrates: "Verily, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would use the Miswaak before making Wudhu (ablutions) whenever he arose from sleep, whether it be during the night or during the day." (Abu Dawood).
"Shuraih (RA) narrates that he asked Aisha (RA): 'What was the first thing Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) did upon entering the house?' Aisha (RA) replied: 'Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would use the Miswaak'." (Muslim)
This article lists some of the hadith which encourage the use of miswak and also outlines the adab (etiquettes) and benefits of using it (with some sources). These include:
1. Eliminates bad odour and improves the sense of taste
2. Sharpens the memory
3. Sharpens the intelligence
4. Eliminates slime (phlegm/mucus)
5. A cure for illness
6. Miswaak creates fragrance in the mouth.
7. Miswaak strengthens the gums.
8. Miswaak prevents tooth decay.
9. Miswaak prevents further increase of decay which has already set in the teeth.
10. Miswaak is a cure for headaches.
11. Miswaak assists in eliminating toothaches.
12. Miswaak creates lustre (Noor) on the face of the one who continually uses it.
13. Miswaak causes the teeth to glow.
14. Miswaak removes the yellowishness of the teeth.
15. Miswaak strengthens the eye-sight.
16. Miswaak is beneficial for the health of the entire body.
17. Miswaak assists in the process of Digestion.
18. Miswaak is a cure for a certain mouth disease known as Qilaa'- This is stated in Hujjatul Baaleghah.
19. Miswaak clears the voice. This is stated in TibbeNabawi.
20. Miswaak facilitates the appetite (Tibbe Nabawi).
21. Miswaak increases the eloquence of one's speech.
22. Miswaak (i.e. its constant use) will be a factor to ease the pangs of Death. The continuous use of the Miswaak makes it easy for the Rooh (Soul) to depart from the body when its appointed time arrives.
23. Miswaak increases the Thawaab (reward) of Salaat (prayer) from seventy times to four hundred times.
24. Miswaak is a factor which will earn higher ranks in Jannat for the one who uses it
25. The Angels sing the praises of the one who uses the Miswaak.
26. Use of the Miswaak displeases Shaitaan.
27. Use of the Miswaak graces one with the companionship of the Angels.
28. And, the greatest benefit of using the Miswaak is the attainment of Allah Ta'ala's Pleasure.
If you want to try this out for yourself, most Islamic bookshops carry the miswak, and it is also available online via many Muslim retailers. Also, if you know someone who is going for hajj or umra, ask them to bring some back for you (cheap and won’t take up their whole suitcase).
Miswak the Miracle Toothbrush
Miswaak: The natural toothbrush
Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “He who holds firm to my Sunnah when corruption is rampant in my Ummah will attain the reward of a hundred martyrs.” (al-Bayhaqi )