Ayurveda (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge), originating in India 3,000-5,000 years ago, is one of the oldest holistic healing methods in the world.
This age old practice of medicine not only recommends treatments with specific herbs and minerals to cure various oral diseases but also recommends daily use of Ayurvedic methods for the prevention of and maintenance of oral health.
For those who prefer a more natural approach to oral health, a number of applications are available to help promote good oral health and the body from disease.
Ayurveda and Chewing Sticks
A Chewing stick or miswak is prepared from the root, stem, twigs or bark of a tree and used for cleaning the oral cavity. Chewing of miswak separates and softens the fibers acting like a natural toothbrush. This practice is done in the morning as well as after every meal. The most popular plants used are neem (Azadiraxhta indica), peelu (Salvadora persica), and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). These and many other plants all over the world have been proven to have antiseptic, antimicrobial, anticariogenic and analgesic effects.
Ayurveda and Oil Pulling
Oil pulling (Kavala, Gandusha), is another popular and effective treatment method to remove toxins from mouth and throat. To oil pull (kavala), place 1TBS of warm, organic, unrefined sesame, sunflower, or coconut oil in the mouth and swish (gandusha) for 10 minutes until the mixture appears milky white. This should be done in the morning upon rising, on an empty stomach. After, apply oil to the index finger and massage the gums. This can reduce tooth sensitivity and soothe receding gums.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
- Generates antioxidants that kill bacteria
- Inhibits plaque formation
- Help to resolve symptoms of dry mouth and chapped lips
Helps prevent dental caries, gingivitis, oral candidiasis
Do not practice oil pulling with kids, as it can cause lipoid pneumonia if the liquid oil is aspirated.
Be certain to use only high-quality, organic oil, as one study performed by Harvard found that one out of every five Ayurvedic products commercially available had dangerous mercury levels.
Ayurveda and Tongue Scraping
This oral hygiene practice known as Jivha nirlekhana is used to clear toxins and bacteria on the tongue. These toxins can cause halitosis, periodontal disease, plaque build-up, tooth decay, loss of teeth, gum infections, and gum recession. Use a silver or copper tongue cleaner to gently scrape your tongue, front to back, every morning. Between 7 and 15 strokes will remove dead bacteria and provide excellent antioxidant benefits, while also freshening the breath.
Benefits of Tongue Scraping
- Clears toxins & bacteria from the tongue that brushing alone cannot remove
- Stimulates the internal organs
- Enhances sense of taste
- Prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into the body
- Promotes general tooth and gum health
Aids in digestion
Modern dental care often requires the use of caustic chemicals to prevent and treat oral diseases. By incorporating these simple Ayurveda methods into your daily dental hygiene routine, you will promote overall health by removing disease causing toxins and give your immune system the boos it needs.
Niazi, F., Naseem, M., Khurshid, Z., Zafar, M. S., & Almas, K. (2016). Role of Salvadora persica chewing stick (miswak): A natural toothbrush for holistic oral health. European Journal of Dentistry, 10(2), 301–308. http://doi.org/10.4103/1305-7456.178297
Published online 2016 Jun 6. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.004