If you’re after a holistic approach to your oral hygiene routine, you’re in the right place. In this article, we are going to shine a light on the Ayurvedic approach to oral health.
We will explore 6 Ayurvedic Oral Hygiene Routine Rituals:
- Herbal tooth powder
- Oil Pulling
- Herbs that you can use for tooth health
- A mouth rinsing technique
- The importance of a fixed mealtime
- And ayurvedic dental sticks
What Is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that originated in India between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago.
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Ayurveda and Dental Hygiene
According to Ayurveda, dental health (danta swasthya in Sanskrit) is completely individualized and varies depending on multiple factors.
Some factors which influence your oral hygiene routine in ayurveda are: body constitution (prakriti), and climatic variations caused by solar, lunar, and planetary factors (kala-parinama).
An ayurvedic oral hygiene routine goes beyond a twice-a-day teeth brushing routine. It includes multiple simple oral care practices throughout the day, that are extremely helpful in maintaining perfect oral hygiene.
These oral health processes together ensure good dental health, gum health, and purification of the entire oral cavity.
6 Ayurvedic Oral Hygiene Routine Rituals
#1: Herbal Tooth Powder
The Sanskrit word “manjan” signifies polishing. So essentially, manjan is an Ayurvedic process that involves polishing the teeth and gums with Ayurvedic powders.
There is a wide variety of Ayurvedic tooth powders, depending on the body type, season, and current health condition.
Some of the simplest Ayurvedic tooth powders constitute powdered charcoal mixed with rock salt or a fine mix of powdered clove, mint, camphor, and long pepper.
These powders are super-fine in texture and ensure zero damage to the tooth enamel. Besides, you are supposed to use your fingers or soft cloth to rub your teeth.
Interestingly, you are supposed to rub them primarily on your gums, instead of your teeth!
Gums are living tissues that can actually absorb the herbal benefits of these powders. Besides, gums are the nutritional source of teeth! Thus, it is more logical to gently massage your gums with Ayurvedic manjan, instead of the tooth surface.
With their herbal combinations, these Ayurvedic tooth powders not only help to clean the teeth, but also boost gum health, and prevent gingivitis, pyorrhea, bleeding gums, receding gums, and bad odor.
They may also help to prevent mouth ulcers and stones in the salivary glands.
#2: Oil Pulling
One of the most effective Ayurvedic dental practices is oil pulling. Oil pulling is a technique involving the swishing of oil in the mouth for oral and systemic health benefits.
Typically coconut oil is used, but you can also use sesame oil.
In the Ayurvedic classic Charaka Samhita, it is referred to as Kavala or Gandusha.
Gandusha entails filling the mouth with medicinal liquids and storing it for a long duration. In gandush, the mouth cavity is filled with liquid medication, held for a minimum of fifteen minutes, and then released.
A comfortable amount of fluid is swished around the mouth for three to five minutes with the mouth closed. It is a simple revitalizing oral treatment that improves the taste sensation, instills a sense of freshness, and revitalizes the mind.
Both kaval and gandush are helpful in preventing tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, throat dryness, and cracked lips. They help to strengthen teeth, gums, and the jaw muscles.
#3: 5 Ayurvedic Herbs For Oral Hygiene
Oral health is closely connected to the digestive system, as all body parts receive their nutrition from the digestive system.
Hence, Ayurveda has the concept of rasayan herbs. These are the herbs that promote a balance in the entire physiology. As a result, they improve digestion, absorption of nutrition, and proper nutritional supply to all parts of the body, including the oral cavity.
Besides, teeth are considered a component of Astidhatu, or bone tissue according to Ayurveda. Thus, the tooth sockets are compared to joints. Ayurveda prescribes some specific herbs that strengthen Astidhatu, or the skeleton and joints. When ingested, these herbs are beneficial for the long-term health of the teeth as well.
Some of the special Ayurvedic herbs for oral health are:
1. Amla (Emblic myrobalan) is a general oral health restorer that helps in the healing and development of connective tissue and gums.
2. Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice root) improves anti-caries activity, prevents plaque, and exerts antibacterial properties.
3. Ashwagandha can help to improve the nervous supply and prevent painful and sensitive gums.
4. Bilberry fruit and hawthorn berries strengthen gum tissue by stabilizing collagen.
5. Yellow dock root, alfalfa leaf, cinnamon bark, and turmeric root are notable examples of herbs that promote bone strength and tooth health.
#4: Regular Mouth Rinse
Mouth Rinse with plain water or medicated liquid is recommended in Ayurveda not only in the morning but after every meal. Mouth Rinse is a very simple process in which you need to fill your mouth partially with water and swish the water around your mouth by moving your cheek muscles.
As you practice regular mouth rinse after every mail during the day, it helps to remove all the food particles stuck in your oral cavity and protects the teeth from pathogens.
At the same time, mouth rinse also serves as a mini yoga for the cheek muscles. It helps to maintain facial muscle tone and prevents wrinkles!
#5: Having A Regular Mealtime
Having regular mealtime is one of the best protective practices for an Ayurvedic oral hygiene routine.
There are more chances of pathogenic infestation in your mouth if you snack on food throughout the day.
This is the reason why Ayurveda recommends a maximum of 3 fixed meals throughout the day.
As you eat only three times a day, there is lesser need to rinse your mouth. Thus, lesser the chances of food getting stuck in your mouth! With fixed meals and a regular after-meal oral cleansing routine, it becomes easier to maintain quality oral hygiene.
#6: Ayurvedic Dental Sticks
Ayurveda uses dental sticks derived directly from medicinal trees.
According to scientific research, all Ayurvedic chewing sticks described in ancient Ayurvedic scriptures include incredible therapeutic and anticarcinogenic qualities.
These dental sticks contain medicinal bioactive compounds in their juice. These bioactive ingredients form a natural tooth-cleaning agent that helps in improving overall oral hygiene.
To avoid oral diseases, Ayurveda suggests chewing sticks in the morning and after every meal if convenient.
You should use herbal chewing sticks with a length of roughly 9 inches and the width of your little finger, absolute personalization! The stems must be supple, healthy, devoid of leaves and knots, and harvested from a healthy tree.
The flavor of these herbal sticks is normally ‘kashaya’ (astringent), ‘katu’ (pungent), or ‘tikta’ (bitter). These flavors stimulate saliva secretion, kill pathogens, stimulate blood circulation, and prevent oral health problems like mouth ulcers, gingivitis, and pyorrhea.
3 commonly used chewing sticks for all Body Types:
#1: Neem Dental Stick
The neem (margosa or Azadiraxhiraxhta indica) is a popular chewing herb. Neem sticks facilitate salivary secretion, aid in plaque control, and also produce a powerful antibacterial effect.
#2: Mango Dental Stick
In southern India, mango leaves are commonly used for tooth cleaning. Sumant et al. (1992) evaluated the effectiveness of mango leaf as an aid for oral hygiene. Their findings support the use of mango leaf!
In this study, the incidence of tooth decay in this group was comparable to that of the group using toothbrushes.
Mangiferin, a chemical found in mango leaves, had considerable antibacterial activity against Pneumococci, Streptococci, Staphylococci, and Lactobacillus acidophilus strains.
#3: Miswak Dental Stick
Miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak) is another medicinal tree used for dental twigs.
Almas and Atassi (2002) conducted research to determine the effect of the end-surface texture of Miswak and toothbrush filaments on enamel. Twenty-one specimens were prepared and divided into three groups: normal toothpaste and brush, Miswak toothbrush, and control.
The end-surface texture of filaments was found to play a significant role in abrasive activity and enamel tooth surface loss. Compared to the normal toothbrush, Miswak had a reduced impact on enamel.
Another scientific study, Almas and Zeid (2004) to evaluate the antibacterial activity of Miswak chewing sticks in vivo concluded that Miswak had a more immediate antimicrobial effect than a toothbrush, especially on common oral pathogens like streptococcus mutans, and lactobacilli.
In an examination of the association between chewing sticks (Miswak) and gingival recession, Eid MA (1991) found that Miswak users had considerably more gingival recession sites than toothbrush users.
Dental Sticks for Different Body Constitutions
Vata Body Type
People with Vata dosha dominance may have dry, rough, uneven teeth and atrophic or receding gums.
Therefore, chewing sticks with bitter-sweet or astringent tastes such as licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and black catechu or the cutch tree (Acacia Catechu Linn. ) are the best for them.
These sticks help to balance the vata dosha and prevent vata oral problems.
Pitta Body Type
Pitta dosha dominant persons are advised to utilize bitter-tasting chewing sticks such as the margosa tree (Azadirachta indica or neem) and arjuna tree twigs (Terminalia arjuna).
Neem is bitter but has a cooling effect on the pitta oral cavity. Thus, it is very effective in the prevention of mouth ulcers, common to pitta people.
Kapha Body Type
Those with a predominance of kapha dosha are likely to have pale, hypertrophic gums. They may also suffer from anorexia, numbness, and indigestion, where compatible dental sticks may be helpful.
The best dental sticks for kapha dominant body type are the ones with a pungent flavor, such as the fever nut (Caesalipinia bonduc) and the common milkweed (Calotropis procera).
Ayurvedic oral hygiene is completely natural, derived entirely from plants and natural ingredients. At the same time, it is simple, effective and safe in preventing oral problems.
Thousands of people across the world have already experienced the health benefits of traditional oral therapies like oil pulling, dental sticks, and many more. Besides, today you can find numerous scientific case studies online, that prove the efficacy of Ayurvedic dental practices.
It is important to research before you start with any of these Ayurvedic oral practices. Therefore, talk to your dentist or Ayurveda expert before incorporating any of the above dental practices into your daily routine.
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