Teeth Cleaning Twigs

Teeth cleaning twigs are ancient toothbrushes. Both humans and animals clean their teeth. Some of us, more diligently than other species. The Twig is usually from a tree with antimicrobial properties. Many cultures still use them. And you probably have one of these trees in your own neighbourhood. All you need to do is be careful that it is not toxic. Then check it can be chewed into shape without splintering.

king parrots eating pearsThroughout the world, teeth cleaning twigs are obtained from a variety of tree species. Although many trees are used in the production of teeth cleaning twigs, some trees are better suited to clean and protect the teeth, due to the chemical composition of the plant parts. In addition, some cultures use a mild abrasive as toothpaste. This includes charcoal or bicarbonate soda.

The tree species include:[1][2][3][4][5]


When compared to toothbrushes, teeth cleaning twigs have several advantages:

  • Reported similar dental protection as toothbrushes [7]
  • More ecological in its life-cycle
  • Lower cost (0-16% of the cost of a toothbrush[8])
  • Independence from external supplier if made at home from privately owned trees
  • Low maintenance, with some twigs need moistening with water if they become dry, to ensure the end is soft. The end may be cut afresh to ensure hygiene, and should not be stored near a sink. The twig is replaced every few weeks to maintain proper hygiene.
  • No need for toothpaste
  • Can combat bad breath (e.g. Cinnamon[9])