Use of miswak versus toothbrushes: oral health beliefs and behaviours among a sample of Jordanian adults

Int J Dent Hyg. 2005 Aug;3(3):126-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2005.00136.x.


Objective: This descriptive survey aimed at determining the perceived relationship among miswak, the toothbrush, and toothbrush-plus-miswak usage on oral health beliefs and behaviours of Jordanian adults, 18-60 years old, seeking dental care in the city of Irbid, northern Jordan.

Methods: Patients (n = 138) voluntarily completed a self-designed questionnaire prior to their dental appointments at public and private clinics.

Results: Overall, the level of oral health knowledge was low; of 71 people who attempted to define dental plaque, only 26% knew the meaning of dental plaque. While 12% have never been to a dentist, and 12% visit the dentist on a regular basis, the majority (63.2%) of the respondents reported that they visit the dentist only when they have pain. The majority (72%) use the toothbrush, 20.5% use the toothbrush-plus-miswak and only 3% use miswak alone. Toothbrush users believe that using the toothbrush-plus-miswak is most effective in reducing mouth debris (chi2 = 32.069, d.f. = 16, P = 0.01); and level of education is significantly associated with the type of oral cleaning device used (chi2 = 25.817, d.f. = 12, P = 0.05). There was no significant difference between toothbrush users and toothbrush-plus-miswak users in terms of how they perceive their oral health status. About 19% of the study participants use dental floss, 60.9% use mouth rinses and 8.3% use inter-dental brushes. Educated people (baccalaureate or associate degrees) tended to use toothbrushes and toothbrush-plus-miswak. The toothbrush-plus-miswak users are most likely to spend 1-2 min each day cleaning their teeth (chi2 = 34.9, d.f. = 20, P = 0.02) than those using other devices. Respondents who use the toothbrush are most likely to visit the dentist when they have pain (chi2 = 34.02, d.f. = 12, P = 0.00) than those using other devices.

Conclusion: The oral health awareness level among Jordanian adults is poor and needs to be improved. Evidence-based and community-based dental health education and a philosophical change from disease-oriented and pain management care to primary preventive care are highly recommended for the Jordanian population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Jordan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene / instrumentation*
  • Oral Hygiene / psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Salvadoraceae*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Toothbrushing / instrumentation*
  • Toothbrushing / psychology