Use of Miswak Versus Toothbrushes: Oral Health and Behaviors of Jordanian Adults

Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Colin Box

Committee Member

Deborah Bauman

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 T83 2005


The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived relationship among miswak, the toothbrush, and toothbrush-plus-miswak usage on oral health beliefs and behaviors of Jordanians. To examine these relationships, a self-designed questionnaire was distributed to a convenience sample of 150 adult subjects (ages 18-60 years) seeking dental care at the health center, and two private dental clinics in Irbid, Jordan. Via the Oral Health Beliefs and Behaviors of Jordanian People Questionnaire, participants were asked to select one and sometimes more than one response regarding their perceived oral health status and oral care behaviors. Content validity of the questionnaire was established by a panel of health sciences faculty at Old Dominion University; test-retest reliability was also established using a sample of Jordanian students studying at Old Dominion University. Information on subjects' age, gender, income, marital status, oral self-care, dental visits, dental products used, and oral health were obtained from each subject's questionnaire. Once questionnaire data were collected, subjects were placed into one of three groups: a miswak-user group (n=4), a miswak-plus-toothbrush user group (n=27), and a toothbrush-user group (n=95). Subject's self-reported oral health practices and perceived oral health status outcomes were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, and the chi-square test of independence to determine statistically significant differences among the three groups according to their self-reported oral health characteristics. Data were processed using the SPSS computer program. Sample profile included 43.8% males, and 56.3% females; 31.3% were married, 61.8% were unmarried; 66% were between 18- 30 years of age, 24.5% were between 31-40; 40.9% earned $100-$200 a month; and 59% hold college/university degrees. In terms of oral health behaviors, 42.5% clean their teeth 1-2 minutes a day, 72% use the toothbrush, and 20.5% use both the toothbrush and miswak. About 48% rated their oral health as good. And 68% reported that using both a toothbrush and miswak is most effective in reducing mouth debris. The chi-square analysis revealed a statistically significant relationship between level of education and type of oral cleaning device used, e.g., 66. 7% of the respondents who have a college/ university degree use the toothbrush. When comparing the type of oral cleaning device used with the oral hygiene beliefs, chi-square results revealed a statistically significant association between the time spent cleaning teeth, toothbrushing frequency and frequency of dental visits (X2=32.06, df-=16, P=0.05). No other significant relationships were found between type of oral cleaning device used and oral hygiene beliefs (X2=15.099, df-= 16, P=0.05).


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