Monday, June 18, 2018

Cheap Gear Review: Peelu

Personal admission time: I have some terrible teeth. I have a ridiculous number of fillings, a crown on one of my front teeth, and I am pretty sure that I have bought at least one BMW between the dentists that I have gone to. Because of this, I am a big fan of good oral hygiene.

If and when SHTF, being able to maintain oral hygiene is a big deal. If you expect to be in a situation with limited water, or if every gram of weight counts, Peelu may be what you are looking for.

What is Peelu?
Peelu (also called Miswak and Selak, among other names) is a twig from the Salvadora persica (a type of tree) native to Africa and the Middle East. It has been used for oral hygiene for centuries (or millennia, according to some claims) and it appears to actually have an effect comparable to toothpaste on oral hygiene. The World Health Organization released an endorsement of it in 1986. There is still a debate about if it is better than toothpaste, and I have been unable to find a definitive study about that.

Pros and Cons
The advantage to Peelu is that all you need is a knife (or scissors, or a sharp rock) to trim the bark off an end of it. To use it, just chew on it for a couple of minutes -- it has a strong antimicrobial effect, and seems to work well -- and put it back in its container. There is no need to rinse your mouth, and the fibers on the end are non-toxic, so if you swallow them (which isn't recommended) it just acts as fiber in your digestive tract and passes through.

Disadvantages to Peelu are its flavor and texture, which are akin to the taste of a raw white potato and clove with the texture of a soft tree branch. I totally understand if this is off-putting; if I used this as an alternative for brushing my teeth, I would purchase the flavored ones (I prefer the mint ones).

Another disadvantage of Peelu is cost. A toothbrush is supposed to last three to four months, and costs about two dollars (or less); toothpaste costs about seven dollars for over a year's supply on Amazon, so total cost per month is usually just under a dollar. Peelu cost about a dollar a stick, and you have to replace them about once a month, so that's $12 or more a year.

To store Peelu in your bug out bag, all you have to do is throw it in a pocket; they tend to be fairly flexible and crush resistant. If it dries out (which I have only had happen when I tried it deliberately), it gets hard to use, so soak it in your water bottle for a few minutes, and it should work just fine afterwards.

I keep mine in a ziplock bag to prevent it from drying out, but you can also purchase a specialized case for one for about five dollars.

My Rating: 
5 professional, 1 personal
I strongly recommend Peelu for anyone who is looking to space of weight, so in that regard I give it five stars.

However, I find the flavor very off-putting, and the texture can cause problems for people who are not expecting it, so I rate unflavored Peelu at one star

So, in conclusion: if weight and space are issues and you aren't concerned about flavor or texture, Peelu may be a good option for you.

Good luck, and don’t forget to practice (or brush your teeth).

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