These Magic Toothbrushes Work Without Toothpaste

A new brush—and an old one, too—that don’t rely on possibly harmful pastes to make your smile shine

Brushing teeth
Shuji Kobayashi/Corbis

There are many benefits to keeping your teeth clean: avoiding gum disease, cavities and the embarrassing accumulation grisly gook, just to name a few. But the most commonly used dental cleanser—toothpaste—may also have some unfortunate side effects, both on the environment and, paradoxically, your health. Fortunately, now you can now have your cake, eat it—and clean it off, too—with a new kind of toothbrush that will make your incisors sparkle all on its own (no paste required).

An invention of the Japanese technology company Yumeshokunin, the new brush, called the misoka, uses nanotechnology to get the job done. “The brush’s bristles – which are 0.178 millimeters thick – are coated in mineral ions, and when passed over your teeth, the ions remove stains and form a protective coating over your enamel,” Fast Company explains. “To activate the brush, all that’s needed is a dip in a cup of water.”

The misoka sounds a bit like a thing of the future. So, for the luddites out there, there’s another paste-less tool on the market: dental twigs. Last week, Fast Company also reported on a startup called the Miswak Club, who is now selling the gizmo that harkens back to the first brushes people used starting in 3,500 to 3,000 B.C., long before there was Colgate or Crest.

From Fast Company:

The small stick, called a miswak (in Arabic, it’s literally a “tooth cleaning stick”), is trimmed from a particular species of tree. The fibers happen to contain sodium bicarbonate and silica – both of which are abrasive enough to help remove stains – along with natural antiseptics, a resin that supposedly forms a protective layer over the teeth, and essential oils that can freshen breath. 

If the misoka seems ahead of the times, the miswak certainly seems behind them. But studies have proven the efficacy of the miswak, which is still commonplace in the Arab world, and the similar tools that are used elsewhere. The only real difference between those sticks and Miswak Club’s is the high price ($14.99 for a 40 day’s supply) and pretty box. 

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