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Tooth brushing and cleaning oneself after the evacuation of the bowels of stools and urine were part of the practices that were common among the pagan Arabs before the advent of Islam. Tooth brushing was normally done with the agency of a soft stick known as miswaak in Arabic.

The Miswaak was known before Islam, but Islam added a religious perspective to its usage. The same rule applies to cleaning oneself with water known as istinjaa’. The existence of these practices in the stone ages shows that they are part of the natural disposition of man, and no society is deprived of them except such a society that has lost all its humane ideals and natural morals.

Endorsement in Islam.
Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) recommended to Muslims to clean their teeth using a Miswaak every day; especially upon waking up, when performing ablution, before prayer, when reciting the Quran, before sleeping, when entering the house, and when the mouth has a foul odor. 

There are many Prophetic narrations that talk about tooth brushing and cleaning oneself with water. ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, related that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Ten things are part of one’s natural disposition: Trimming the moustache, growing beards, the Miswaak (tooth brushing), sniffing water, cutting the nails, washing hands, plucking armpits, shaving pubic hair, and conserving water ( cleaning oneself with water)." [Muslim] 

About the importance of tooth brushing by using the miswaak, the holy Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was reported saying: "If it were not that it would cause hardship for my nation, I would have ordered them to use the Miswaak (brushing the teeth with it) with every ablution and with every prayer."[Al-Bukhari]

On cleaning oneself with water Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to relieve himself, then another boy and I would bring a vessel of water and a short spear [to use as a sutrah for the prayer he was going to do after doing wudoo’] and he would cleanse himself with the water.” (al-Bukhaari, Muslim,) 

 

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