What Your Chewing Stick is Trying to Tell You and Doesn’t Want Your Toothbrush to Know

Young-Nigerian-African-Woman-Selling-Chewing-Sticks

I have used a chewing stick once in my life.  Just once, as far as I can remember.  Who knows what I did before I started teething.  We shall not discuss that here.

Okay, maybe I will.  Not today, sha.  But for a small fee, I might be persuaded to …

Back to the matter.  The chewing stick matter.

Ehen, as I was saying …

I remember the taste and smell of the chewing stick.  Clearly, it was not a pleasant experience as I have not for one day in my life said to myself:

“Hmmm …. This toothbrush is not werking.  Time to switch to a more archaic tool.  Aha! I’ll use a chewing stick!”

Nope.  This has never ever happened.  And it will never ever happen.

But what if it was the other way round, and you have always used a chewing stick? What do you think your chewing stick would say to you?

Well, I imagined it and decided to share it.  

1. A Chewing Stick is not a Toothbrush

Pretty obvious, abi? But, it still needs to be said.  Your chewing stick wants you know that it is not and will never be a toothbrush.  Stop calling it a toothbrush.  Stop treating it like a toothbrush (putting toothpaste on it is just an insult).  Stop telling it to behave and act more like a toothbrush.  It. Is. Not. A. Toothbrush.

Got it?

Good.

Next!

2. Unlike a Toothbrush, a Chewing Stick is not a Ready-made tool

Yes, yes.  I know the chewing stick seller smiled at you as she handed you a year’s month’s supply of chewing sticks neatly tied in a bundle.  It was cheap too, abi? Good for you.  So, you thought to yourself:

Ah, in no time at all, my teeth will be whiter than this girl’s own.”

Because the chewing stick seller had nice dentition.  Unlike a cow, which has zero teeth on its upper jaw.

Just had to throw that in there.

But when you got home, you discovered to your horror that a chewing stick is a (wait for it) stick.  That’s right.  As the name suggests, you have to beg your teeth to cooperate with you before you can make that stick soft enough to use.  Yup.  Your teeth will have to chew that stick (see what I did there) before you can use it to clean your teeth.

This might take a few minutes, hours, days or weeks, depending on your proficiency or chewing stick mastery.

Oh well …. At least, you don’t need toothpaste.

*evil grin*

3. A Chewing Stick is not a Cane

…. Or other similar instrument of torture.  Or discipline.  Depending on how you look at it.

I know it’s a stick that you chew, but you cannot use it to discipline your children.

Please, don’t.

There’s a different woman in the market who sells canes for flogging errant children.  Patronize her instead.  Ignore her dentition.  It’s not important.

Or “borrow” a branch from your neighbor’s tree.  Just remember to remove the leaves before you use it.

You’re welcome.

Please note that after successfully cleaning your teeth/tongue with your chewing stick, mouthwash is optional.  Chew mint leaves, maybe?

What do you think I left out? Which do you prefer: chewing stick or toothbrush?  

P. S. A chewing stick is not the same as a “chew stick.”  I just had to put that out there since I saw several pictures of people’s pets (and a few wild animals) gnawing on weird looking sticks before finding the right picture.  Chewing Sticks are widely used across Africa and are sometimes known as Miswak sticks.  Yorubas call it Pako.

Picture Source

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