Posted on 06/08/2012 by __socrates

MISWAK مسواك
(1) A tooth-cleaner made of wood, about a span long. It is preferred when made of a wood which has a bitter flavour. The Salvadora indira is the tree, the wood of which is used in India. (2) The act of cleaning the teeth, which is a religious ceremony founded upon the example of Muhammad, and forms the first part of the wazu’, or “ablution before prayer.”
The Prophet was particularly careful in the observance of miswak (see Mishkat, book iii. Ch. 4.) It is amongst these things which are called fitrah (q.v.).

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam