Going Dental with Datun

Dental Datun

A few decades back before the invasion of cheap toothbrushes and toothpastes most Indians used to brush their teeth with datuns. Datuns are twigs from either the keekar tree or neem tree. One end of the twig was chewed till a sort of brush was formed and then teeth were cleaned with it.

Perhaps the datun has vanished inside cities but on the peripheries close to villages people still use this as a morning ritual.

Here this girl is chewing on a datum and taking a branch of some tree perhaps to use both as firewood and as a source for datuns.


16 thoughts on “Going Dental with Datun

    1. People are still very poor in some pockets of India. A datun is a small twig broken from a tree and put in the mouth and chewed. This small stick becomes a brush after chewing and is used to rub on teeth and gums as brush. Neem tree twigs have medicinal value and actually cure dental pr0blems.


      1. Also it may not be because of poverty but because of traditional choices and lifestyles which perhaps have their own values being discovered as having positive effects by scientists all over the world. The neem tree, is truly magical. its leaves can be placed while storing winter clothes and they preseve them from bugs. The neem datun is truly medicinal. Soaps made of neem extract are good for skin rashes. Neem leaves are used in many poultices.


      2. I knew this situation…
        But poverty, paradoxically, can lead to lifestyle and natural uses.
        We in the North of the world should learn ..
        Very interesting.
        I live in a country of the South of choice for 4 years and use plants such as bay leaves, rosemary, citronella grass: my husband was chemical.
        I will try the neem tree.
        Thank you!

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