Your oral health is the window to your overall health. Hence, it’s vital that you take good care of your mouth, teeth and gums. This way, you will be able to prevent tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease. But do people around the world have the same way of understanding the importance of dental health? In this post, let’s explore how different countries and cultures take care of their oral health, and if they have unique oral health practices and traditions.

Replacing toothbrushes with the Miswak

You might be surprised to know that in many regions of the world, there are individuals who clean their teeth with twigs. These twigs are often obtained from neem and oak trees. The twig will then be broken into half, splayed and softened at the broken end. The “modified” twig is now ready for use, and the user will proceed to rub it on their teeth.

For Muslim and African cultures, the twigs they use naturally contain a high concentration of cavity-fighting fluoride. Also known as Siwak or the “Chewing Stick”, the twig substitutes the toothbrush we are familiar with in the Western world. While the idea of not using a toothbrush may sound sketchy to some, studies have shown that the Miswak is better than toothpaste and can even prevent gum diseases by killing the bacteria that causes it. What’s more, it helps eliminate bad breath and odors from the user’s mouth, leaving a pleasant fragrance behind.

Different cultures have different perceptions of the tooth fairy

American Indian tribes like the Chippewa tribe, have parents that use charcoal to make their child’s loose tooth turn black. This is done before the extraction, and once the tooth is removed, the tooth is thrown to the west. The child’s grandmother will pray for the permanent tooth to grow in strong.

In China, Chinese children will place their lower teeth on the roof and upper teeth at the foot of their beds before going to sleep. They have the belief that this practice will make their permanent teeth grow in faster and stronger. Instead of a tooth fairy, children in El Salvador believe that a rabbit comes into their rooms during the night to take their tooth instead (leaving money too!).

Traditional green tea is China’s most commonly drunk tea for health purposes

This particular tea is well known for its green hued leaves and green tinged color when brewed. Famous all around the world, the history of green tea dates back all the way to the Wei Jin Northern and Southern Dynasties and was once considered as a luxury item. Green tea has great medicinal properties and was used to treat throat infections as well. Today, it has been proven that green tea is an effective tool that helps prevent the formation of cavities. It is able to lower the amount of bacteria and acid that resides in your mouth.

While it may sound tempting to hop aboard and try these traditional oral care methods for your own benefit, the truth is your mouth, gum and teeth have already adapted to your daily oral care regime. If you make a sudden switch, you may not be guaranteed satisfactory results. It’s best that you consult a dentist to help you maintain or improve your dental care practices to yield the best results.