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Licorice toothbrush.

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Make your own toothbrush.

I've made loads of toothbrushes from licorice sticks (Glycyrrhiza glabra). It's easy:
Photo: Toothbrush. Pic: Licorice toothbrushes soaking in vodka.

  • Boil a handful licorice sticks (medium thickness - 5 mm is about right, 3 mm too thin, 7 mm too thick) with 3-4 cinnamon sticks and about 10 cloves. If you like you can add ginger, as well.
  • Let simmer until the sticks are soft. This takes about 4-5 hours.
  • Strain out the licorice sticks and put them into a longish container.
  • Cover with vodka, close lid on that longish container.
  • Let sit overnight.
  • Put sticks into dehydrator, let dry on full heat (about 60 deg. C) until dry.

Photo: Toothbrush 1. Pic: Licorice toothbrushes on a dehydrator tray.

Using these toothbrushes: chew open 1-2 cm of one end, use that to brush with. You can't reach around corners. When the chewed-up bit is all untidy, remove the untidiness with scissors or a knife and chew up the next bit.

You're guaranteed to get interesting looks when you use this.

I got the recipe long ago from one or the other book by David Hoffman. I think (but I'm not sure) he recommends also trying birch twigs. If you want to boil birch twigs until soft you'll need to wait for a long time. Also, after boiling them for 4-5 hours you have birch twigs, not tooth brushes. They simply don't open up when chewed. I've tried it, it doesn't work.


Do they taste like licorice? Or vodka? Neither of those are really flavours I associate with dental hygiene...

It tastes of spicy licorice - extremely tasty. The vodka is all gone.
It'd make an excellent candy, except that chewed boiled licorice sticks leave you with a wad of hard fibers, all chewed up, which need to be spit out.

wow, real deal of recipe! i've used just licorice sticks with no preparation at all and enjoyed the brush-kind-of-outcome of the stick. chewing that stick was taking away the dark bits of redwine, coffee/tea and tobacco, cleaning teeth that way. it also helped to smoke less tobacco, very healty product ! and probably gentle for teeth too. so my wonder is, if all this preparation is necessary when it seemed to work just by that?

oooh you have used them just like that? interesting! my sticks are too hard for it, i think, but i could try to chew them open. thanks for the tip!