Not Just Your Average Twig

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

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How do you feel about brushing your teeth with a twig? No, we’re not talking about your favourite panda bear but about the reinvention of the toothbrush. A design student was asked by her professor to redesign the next object she disposed of and for Leen Sadder, it was a tube of toothpaste.

After contemplation and research, the most efficient design was not in fact a new product but borrowing the predominantly Middle Eastern and South Asian technique of using “miswak”. For those of you who are not so keenly into tree anatomy, miswak is a twig from an Arak tree and has been attributed to religious beliefs of Muslims.

The use of twigs for dental hygiene is promoted by the World Health Organization and has been shown to kill gum disease, fight plaque and gingivitis and remove bad breath. All such benefits have been proved in studies to be more effective than your everyday plastic toothbrush. Interestingly enough, the use of one of these twigs has also been shown to crush smoker’s bad habits.

With regard to the packaging, it may be the only downfall in terms of being eco-friendly. In order to stand a chance in the western world’s market, the toothbrush requires packaging so that it may be displayed along with other products. The toothbrush is therefore placed a plastic tube and the lid is conveniently a sort of “trimmer” similar to a cigar cutter which allows the owner to cut back the bristles- to prevent bacterial growth and infection.

In a world where most dentists are suggesting disposing of your toothbrush every two months, six toothbrushes a year for your entire lifespan, the choice here seems obvious. Only one question remains, “Where the hell can I get one?” After tedious searches, I am still not sure where one of these can be purchased but I am hopeful that the next time I’m at the local Rexall replacing my toothbrush that I’ll have the choice to pick a more environmentally friendly option.


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