Gallery: ‘THIS’ is an Organic, Chewable Toothbrush And Toothpaste All-i...


Sometimes sustainable design is not about creating new objects — it is often more effective to promote, re-design, or even re-package an existing product. Lebanese designer Leen Sadder probably came to this conclusion after developing “THIS Toothbrush“, a project for her masters at New York City‘s School of Visual Arts. THIS aims to re-package and promote – through an ad campaign and website – the Miswak tooth-cleaning twig as an organic, biodegradable, portable and chewable toothbrush and toothpaste all-in-one.

The school’s brief was to re-design the concept of the first object students threw out after class, and for Leen Sadder it was an empty tube of toothpaste. After exploring the history of toothpaste, its relationship to the toothbrush, its varieties, human habits, and making many fancy prototypes, she stumbled across a tooth-stick called the Miswak and came up with THIS. The Miswak is a tooth-cleaning twig, which is commonly used in the Middle East, Pakistan and India. Traditionally, the top is bitten off with every use to reveal soft bristles similar to that of a toothbrush.

The design is natural, biodegradable, and sustainable in terms of natural resources, as there is no need to use water with THIS. The product already existed, but it has never been introduced to the contemporary American audience, who would probably find the idea a bit weird. So the designer came up a cigar-cutter-like plastic cap that peels off the outer layer to reveal the natural bristles, and then slices them off after use to protect the stick from germs and microbes. Brilliant.

+ Leen Sadder

Photo © Leen Sadder


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  1. ecoist January 26, 2012 at 11:32 am

    There is a company called “Natural Toothbrush” that retails this twig/miswak but they don’t sell the cap or cover that goes with it. Just the twig.

  2. allison joyal November 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    um… ya. you didn’t come up with that invention. hahahahaha, the middle eastern people have been using this, that stick brush that you chew, to bring out the bristles, longer than any of you have been alive! hahahaha but thats really funny though! if you don’t beleive me, stop into your local middle eastern shop, and they’ll very likely carry one, if the shop is halal. lol

  3. noaugh September 14, 2011 at 6:26 am

    i’m arabic, And it’s still common to have this stick used, The Prophet used it and thats why some people like to use it even now, In Mecca it is commercially available, but not in such a nice packaging, Good for her, if she does sell her deign to a middle-eastern market it will do well.

  4. Umar999 August 10, 2011 at 10:40 am

    If I want to buy a large quantity is 10,000 how much they will cost and whether you have a agent in Saudi Arabia?

  5. ralkit June 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    @kentuckywoman2 : Go to ANY islamic bookstore or shop ! It is 1$ everywhere, no matter the size or the taste you choose !

  6. ralkit June 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    We Muslims use this since centuries :)
    The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him told us to do so. Now science proved it’s the best thing for toothbrushing…
    God Is Great.

  7. kentuckywoman2 June 6, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Where can I buy it? I’ve inquired just about everywhere and no one has heard of it. I’d like to try it.

  8. Ana Lisa Alperovich June 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    nuts & MikiD54: thanks for sharing your stories with us!
    samsammys: I have no idea, probably..!

  9. samsammys June 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Isn’t this what Gwyneth Paltrow used in the movie Shakespeare in Love? I always wondered about that scene.

  10. MikiD54 June 5, 2011 at 10:45 am

    My grandfather told me that when he was young he, along with nearly everyone else in the northern West Virginia mountains, brushed their teeth with the end of a green twig. He did not see a man-made toothbrush until he was an adult, andthe first he saw was made with boar bristles.

    I have never seen anyone until now (I’m 74 years old) who knew about or remembered this very old and very effective way of cleaning their teeth. In fact, I have amazed many young people by telling them this. Many didn’t believe me. I am now vindicated.

    GOOD FOR YOU! I am now a fan or Thank you.

  11. nuts May 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Neem sticks are also used traditionally for oral hygiene in India from times immemorial.

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  13. caeman May 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Odd looking, but I would be willing to give it a try.

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