Minty fresh breath, or strong, healthy teeth? You choose!

On a visit to the dentist a couple of years ago, it turned out that an old cavity showed “arrested decay”. I asked if this could be ascribed to the use of neem twigs instead of toothbrush and paste, and the dentist agreed that it was likely, as the decay seemed to have stopped around the time I switched over to neem twigs completely.

Now, I know neem twigs are not so easy or pleasant to use as a toothbrush and paste. For one thing, they seem like a pain to find. My own neem trees are young and small so I use them sparingly. Which means I go round looking hungrily at other people’s neem trees. I know, I know – I’m spoilt – I like my sticks fresh and juicy.

While there’s a special satisfaction in picking your natural toothbrush off a tree, it’s actually quite easy to get neem sticks at old fashioned markets across the country, and even online. They may not be as ubiquitous as plastic toothbrushes, but they’re not that hard to get. Once you make up your mind.

Anyway, the point is that neem twigs are better for your teeth than any toothbrush, any toothpaste. Believe me, I’ve tried everything. I had sensitive teeth, cavities, eroded teeth. Despite taking (what I thought was) extremely good care of my teeth, I was always at the dentist, in agony. And now? Never go near the guy!

How does one explain this magical cure? It’s quite simple. Natural fibre is less harsh than plastic. And no toothpaste is better than any toothpaste – they’re all basically corrosive by nature. And thirdly, neem has antibacterial properties and keeps those bacteria in check all night.

I only wish I had known all this when I was young – I could have saved myself so much pain, so many fillings, extractions, root canals, and two bridges. So I’m going round telling everyone who will listen. Shed the toothbrush and paste! And incidentally, save the planet kilos of plastic!

The one thing you will miss is the minty fresh breath that only toothpaste can give you. I worried for months that I smelt. I kept needing my family’s reassurances that I didn’t. Now I’m ok with it, and quite enjoy the bitter kick.

This is another thing that modern culture has done to us. We’re so afraid of our own natural smells. I remember when one of the teachers in my daughter’s class told the kids – Phew! You all stink! Please use some deo! And just like that, those poor innocent sweaty kids were all converted. Deo manufacturers should give teachers a commission… not!

So, like I said, you have a choice. Exercise it wisely. Long may you bite!