By: Ariana Palmieri
Ever tried brushing your teeth with a twig? I haven’t, until this week. Now, this is no ordinary twig (so don’t go breaking branches off that tree outside your house), but a TwigBrush, or Miswak. A TwigBrush is a natural alternative to a toothbrush (and requires no toothpaste either). It’s made from the Salvadora Persica tree, also known as the Peelu tree or Toothbrush Tree.
You must be thinking: Okay, but how could a twig possibly clean your teeth, especially without any toothpaste? Good question. Here’s the answer: TwigBrush has unique, completely natural, chemical compositions that are perfectly designed for cleaning teeth. In fact, there are over 70 benefits of this twig shown throughout ancient literature (pretty impressive, no?). And they’re not all hogwash either: Most claimed benefits have been proven by labs effective as stated. Some benefits include natural antiseptics (that eliminate bad breath), silica (which removes stains + whitens teeth), sodium bicarbonate (whitens teeth), resin (protects teeth), and essential oils (freshens breath). Also, TwigBrush is completely eco-friendly, being it’s a twig and all (which makes it biodegradable, mind you). Can’t say that for conventional toothbrushes and toothpaste holders.
But those benefits aside, does TwigBrush really work? Can a twig really freshen breath, protect from microbial action, and clean teeth? Well, Ammar Alyemany from TwigBrush was kind enough to send me a few samples to test out for myself. And the answer might surprise you.
Why you want it: This will probably be the most unique toothbrush you’ll ever use – not to mention a very effective one.
Its value: $9.99 (first time users get 20% off by signing up via email – and currently TwigBrush is on sale for $6.99)
Usage duration: I started using this product Monday, January 9, 2017. I’m currently still using it, so I’ve been brushing my teeth with it for about a full week. I plan to keep using it until it’s down to the very end of the bark.
My review: So yes, I brushed my teeth with a twig. And yes, I was skeptical at first. But now? I’m the farthest thing from it. This product blew my expectations out of the water. When I received this in the mail, I was excited but hesitant to try it out. My mom is a dental assistant after all, so I’ve been pretty much conditioned all my life to always use a toothbrush with toothpaste. It was an understatement to say I had to convince her I’d be fine trying this out (after all, if I really didn’t like it, or felt like it didn’t work, I could just stop using it). That said, I did like it. In fact, I’ll dare say I like it better than a toothbrush. Why? Well, first off, let me explain how I went about using it. On the package, instructions are pretty clear (also available online). There are 5 steps you have to take. First, I opened the seal and rinsed off the twig. I was taken back by the smell it had – it’s hard to describe. It’s kind of earthy, you might say? But not unpleasant. After I rinsed the entire twig off, I trimmed 1/2 inch from bark. What this means is I literally used my nails (I have long nails mind you – if you don’t, use a mini knife) to scrape off 1/2 inch of the bark. It wasn’t hard to do at all and I didn’t hurt myself in the process. Next, I gently nibbled on the exposed area until it began to form bristles. It felt a little strange to do this, and I used all of my teeth at least once (from front teeth to back) to nibble away. I’d say this took about 5 minutes to accomplish before I started seeing bristles form. Next, I rinsed the twig again and brushed my teeth like usual, no toothpaste needed. This felt kind of weird too. The texture of the bristles was rougher than those on a toothbrush, but they didn’t hurt. I found it a little difficult to reach the back ends of my teeth because of the shape of the TwigBrush, but by the end of the week I had pretty much become a wizard at brushing in all areas. Score. The best (and most impressive) part was that when I was done, my teeth felt just as clean and refreshed as they would if I had brushed them with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You know how you can literally feel the difference on your teeth after brushing? How they always feel more slick, pearly, and clean? That’s exactly how my mouth felt after each use. Mind you, I used this TwigBrush for almost a full week (I’m still using it, and technically the week isn’t quite up yet). Also, it’s important to note that you’re supposed to repeat step 2 (trim 1/2 inch from bark) every 3-5 days. I guess this is to make sure you always have fresh bristles to use. I haven’t trimmed mine yet, but I think I will in a day or two. So far, it’s still working perfectly. The one “down side” to this product is the strong odor the bark itself gives off. That said, I was told if you soak the entire twig overnight, the odor would vanish. I haven’t done that yet because to me, the odor is tolerable and rather earthy. Also, do not expect this to leave your breath minty fresh. It doesn’t do that. That said, it doesn’t leave you with bad breath either. It leaves you with a subtle, earthy scent that’s totally gentle and non-invasive. Trust me when I say I have yet to hear anyone tell me my breath stinks (and I have a boyfriend, so he’d be the first to tell me). All in all, I’d definitely recommend this product to everyone I know. Now, if only I could get my mom to try it…
Salvadora Persica tree (Yes, that’s really it).
The (quick) rundown
The pros: The pros completely outweigh the cons.
- I really loved communicating with Ammar Alyemany who gave me the product in the first place. What a friendly person!
- I love how TwigBrush is so affordable and how there’s a current sale going on (not to mention you can get 20% off if you sign up with your email.)
- There’s always free shipping if you order 2 or more Twigbrushes – super convenient.
- I really love how durable the TwigBrush is: One will definitely last you a while.
- I was impressed by how well the TwigBrush performed: I was skeptical at first, but not anymore!
- I haven’t finished using the product yet – something tells me one TwigBrush will last well into the end of the month, if not longer.
- I adore how it’s only made from one ingredient – the Salvadora Persica tree – which makes it all-natural and biodegradable!
- The instructions are easy to follow and are included right on the packaging and website (though the website says you have to saturation your twig brush for 8 hours before use – I double checked with Ammar Alyemany about this because it didn’t say that on the package – and found out soaking it for 8 hours is not necessary).
- I was really impressed how this didn’t need water or toothpaste to clean my teeth – I mean come on, who would’ve guessed, right?
- Using this seriously minimizes the amount of waste I put into the environment (the packaging is completely recyclable too).
The cons: The cons are ridiculously low.
- The smell of the product caught me off guard (it smelled very earthy, but not bad, just pungent).
- I hope they update the website to say it doesn’t need to be soaked 8 hoursbefore use, because it doesn’t match the instructions on the package. This part confused me a little!
Conclusion: I totally recommend this product. If for nothing else, its effectiveness and uniqueness will definitely amaze you. Plus, you’ll be putting one less piece of plastic into the environment. Not to mention this will save you money on buying a new toothbrush and toothpaste tub (after all, each can cost up to $10, or more, depending on the brand). This Miswak is bound to last you a while and is half the cost. So what’s there to lose? Give it a try for yourself (you might be surprised at how much you like it).
This post was sponsored by TwigBrush. All thoughts remain honest and not influenced by a third party.