A Dental Surgeon with Bethel Dental Clinic, Abuja, Dr Isikwei Uche, has said that the constant use of chewing stick to clean the mouth can wear out the surface of the teeth and the gum.
Uche told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the use of chewing sticks was a practice some people had imbibed as a result of their socio-cultural background.
He said the use of chewing sticks implied that pressure had to be exerted to ensure proper cleaning of the teeth which was detrimental to the gum and teeth.
“People who use chewing sticks apply lots of pressure on the teeth so as to clean well but this practice over a period of time wears away the surface of the teeth and the gum.
“When you apply pressure, you bruise the gum, wear the gum and it causes gum recession.
“Chewing stick cannot be used to clean the inner part of the teeth because it is just straight and does not have the ability to reach the inner parts of the mouth,” Uche said.
He further explained that chewing sticks control mouth odour due to some anti-plaque effect it had but lacked the mint readily available in most toothpastes.
Uche noted that the mint in toothpastes assist to produce fresh breath for the mouth.
The Dental Surgeon added that chewing sticks were not something patients would be advised to use anymore, adding that there were good toothpaste and toothbrushes available.
He, however, observed that the use of chewing sticks had no clear cut health implications on the users, adding that it had some components that helps protect the mouth and teeth from decay.
“The use of chewing sticks does not have any health issues but the issue is that it is poor in management of the oral environment.
“For some people that use it, it is easy to carry about, it is readily available, it is less expensive to purchase.
“When using chewing sticks, it helps the user to exercise the jaw and can as well induce the production of saliva in the mouth.
“Some chewing sticks that are bitter have components like chloride, sodium which also functions in toothpastes as plaque indicators and can prevent holes in the teeth,” Uche said.
He also pointed out that some people who would rather dump the use of chewing sticks entirely preferred to combine it with toothbrush and pastes.