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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 2576548, 10 pages
Research Article

Investigations of a Possible Chemical Effect of Salvadora persica Chewing Sticks

1Department of Dental Medicine, Unit of Periodontology, Karolinska Institutet, P.O. Box 4064, 141 04 Stockholm, Sweden
2Department of Dental Hygienist, Medical Sciences College, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Chemical Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry, Ecological Chemistry Group, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
4Department of Chemistry, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan

Correspondence should be addressed to Reham Albabtain; es.ik@niatbabla.maher

Received 23 January 2017; Accepted 28 March 2017; Published 18 April 2017

Academic Editor: Rainer W. Bussmann

Copyright © 2017 Reham Albabtain et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Salvadora persica is commonly used chewing sticks in many parts of the world as an oral hygiene tool. This study measured the amount of benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) released into the mouth and assessed its retention time in saliva. The study also tested if the released amount of BITC could potentially be antibacterial or cytotoxic. Twelve subjects brushed their teeth with fresh Miswak once, twice, and four times. The amount of BITC in the saliva and in the used brushes was quantified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The antibacterial effect of BITC and Miswak essential oil (MEO) was tested against Haemophilus influenzae, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, and Porphyromonas gingivalis. The cytotoxic effect on gingival fibroblasts and keratinocytes was tested using MTT. The highest amount of the active compounds was detected in saliva after using the Miswak tip for once and immediately. It significantly decreased when the Miswak tip was used more than once and thus after 10 min. The growth of the tested bacteria was inhibited by MEO and BITC in a dose dependent manner, P. gingivalis being the most sensitive. MTT assay showed that BITC and MEO were cytotoxic towards gingival fibroblasts while oral keratinocytes showed resistance. This study suggests that the Miswak tip should be cut before each use to ensure the maximum effect.