A miswak, or mishwak is an all-natural toothbrush used for millenia by Muslims and some Jews. Basically it is a root taken from a bitter tree that has been whittled to reveal the fibres within and soaked in water or more preferrably rose water until it is soft enough to be used to polish the teeth.

The Peelo, Peelu or Arak tree as known in Urdu and Arabic respectively, is the most popular tree to take miswaks from and has been shown to contain 17 different compounds that aid in maintaining healthy white teeth and gums. Other less commonly used roots come from the olive and walnut trees. In most countries where miswaks are found it is illegal to sell miswaks taken from certain trees, in particular the pomegranate, as it is known to cause illness through use. It is also forbidden to keep a miswak in the washroom, contrary to the way Westerners use toothbrushes. A new miswak should be approximately one hand span in length and be perfectly straight.

Miswaks dispose of many drawbacks commonly associated with the Western style toothbrush. No paste, rinsing, spitting or water (save that used to soften the miswak) is required, and so many Muslim men carry a miswak with them throughout the day to use anytime they want a clean mouth.

The major reason to want to use a miswak is religious: if a Muslim brushes with a miswak before any of the five daily prayers his reward for praying with a clean mouth is multiplied many times.