Neem twig or 'Datun' is being popularly used as toothbrush since time immemorial in most of the Indian villages. Besides being a healthy and effective way of cleaning teeth, neem twig also serves as a complete dental care product for the villagers who do not have access to the modern dental care facilities.
Though all kinds of neem twigs can not be used as brushes because there is a specific way of making and using neem twig as a toothbrush.
For making an appropriate toothbrush out of a neem twig, one would need a soft, young branch of neem tree which is flexible enough to bend either ways. This branch should ideally be 15 to 20 cms long with a 15 to 20 mm of thickness.
A young branch is sans any hard bark coating, instead it just has a thin skin like coating to it which needs to be peeled off. Once the peeling is done, start chewing one end of the twig. After a while, the chewed twig end would turn into a little brush with its rough and brittle ends.
Once the chewed twig is transformed into a brush like structure, one can rub this rough and brittle end throughout the mouth, covering all sides of teeth. Make sure that the gums do not get injured in this entire process. This is actually the way one cleans teeth with a neem twig. The rough edges of the twig tend to rub off and clean the stains or other foreign particles on the teeth and the secretion from the neem twig simultaneously freshens up the breath and protects gums from bleeding or other infections.
Thus, neem twig can actually be a healthy alternative to the fancy tooth pastes and other modern dental care regimes.