Phytochemical screening of the stems of Garcinia kola, Dennettia tripetala, Acioa barteri, Dialium guineense, Maesobotrya barteri, Mallotus oppositifolius and Psidium guajava which are commonly used as chewing sticks in southern Nigeria revealed the presence of bioactive compounds comprising saponins, tannins, flavonoids and alkaloids. The major, minor and trace elements in these chewing sticks were determined. The chewing sticks contained calcium (0.30-1.00%), magnesium (0.06-030%), phosphorous (0.10-0.38%), potassium (0.21-0.39%) and sodium (0.03-0.20%). The concentration of fluoride ranged from (0.02-0.11ppm), copper (0.02-0.14ppm), iron (2.86-5.14ppm), zinc (0.31-0.57ppm), manganese (0.00-0.26ppm) and lead (0.00-0.11ppm). Chewing sticks when used without tooth paste is very efficient, effective and reliable in cleaning the teeth of many people in Southern Nigeria, The teeth of the users of chewing sticks are usually strong, clean, fresh and devoid of dental plaques and carries. These results indicate the basis for the preventive and protection of the teeth against caries and plaques by the samplesused.
Key Words: Bioactive compounds, chewing sticks, Mineral composition, Dental plaques.
(Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences: 2003 9(2): 235-238)