The natural medicine practice, Ayurveda, considers oral health to be much more than just taking care of your teeth. Everyone knows we need to brush our teeth to prevent cavities and rotting teeth. Other than check ups at the dentist, what else is there to do?
Ayurveda follows five different steps throughout the day for addressing oral health. All of which tend to the teeth, tongue, and gums by cleaning and promoting a balance of good bacteria.
If you want to experience the full effects of a healthy mouth, then a daily ayurvedic oral routine might be for you. This guide will introduce you to all the steps you need to start practicing.
Ayurveda and Oral Health
Ayurveda has been around for 5,000 years giving time for its practice and rituals to prove beneficial. If you’re familiar with the practice, then you know about the doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha which rule over different parts of your body and its systems, working together for balanced function throughout the body. Including the mouth.
Essentially, the knowledge of ayurveda and oral health is that a healthy mouth contributes to overall good health of the body.
- Building good bacteria
- Initiating enzyme production for digestion
- Lubricating the vocal cords
- Enhancing taste – good for experiencing food
The Daily Routine
The Ayurveda oral routine is a little longer than your typical brush and floss. Look at it as a mindful self care ritual in your day, worth every extra minute. It will pay off, because it doesn’t take long to start feeling the difference.
Tongue scraping is best done as your first step, before brushing. This part is done with a U-shaped tool with handles, traditionally made of copper (now commonly made in stainless steel for a more price accessible tool). The copper tongue scraper (if using traditional) acts as an antibacterial, while loosening and build-up from between the taste buds.
A vital part of Ayurveda’s oral practice is oil pulling. This is the act of swishing around an oil like you would mouthwash. It sounds a little yucky, but you get used to it – don’t worry you’ll brush your teeth right after.
Ayurveda traditionally uses sesame oil, however, with modern science coconut oil now shows to be the most beneficial. Swish coconut oil for 5 to 20 minutes to pull bacteria, exercise the mouth, and promote balanced pH.
Brushing and Flossing
I’m sure by now you have teeth brushing down. Some swaps you can make for a more Ayurveda aligned experience would be a herbal toothpaste or ayurvedic tooth powder and a natural floss such as silk.
A gum massage with oil is optional after you brush, or later in the day if it feels necessary. Use your finger tips to massage your gums with whichever oil you pulled with. This is going to promote blood circulation across your gums, providing healthy oxygenated blood to your entire mouth.
Similar to having a toothpick hang from your mouth after a meal, Ayurveda has chewing sticks. These sticks are made from trees that are high in tannins, such as tea tree and neem, which act as an astringent and antibacterial. Chewing sticks also help break down and prevent plaque build up. Use chewing sticks after your afternoon meal to promote cleaning throughout the day.
Triphala is a herbal Ayurvedic blend that translates from Sanskrit to “three fruits”. These fruits, amala, bibhitaki, and haritaki are dehydrated into a powder that you mix into water. With this powder you can make a cold drink or tea that has many health benefits. Triphala’s role in oral health is cell regeneration of the gums. You can drink it or use it as a mouthwash.
Something to be sure of: Ayurveda’s thorough oral care pays off. However, It’s important not to stress the details, not every part of the routine is for everyone. Start with what you can, work your way up, and ultimately do what feels right to your body.
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