The prevention of all disease begins from the mouth and the first step towards maintaining good health is to give enough importance to oral hygiene.
In fact, Ayurveda has always emphasised on the importance of oral health and the Shalakya Tantra lists 65 oral diseases that can occur if it is not taken seriously. Apart from treatments for orofacial diseases, Ayurveda also recommends certain preventive practices that can be incorporated in our daily routine.
While these practices date back to centuries, they are extremely relevant in these modern times too.
- Dant Dhavana or Brushing: While traditionally this practice included chewing a neem stick after every meal, the principle of brushing your teeth regularly remains the same. Use a good soft bristle brush that isn't harsh on your gums and an herbal toothpaste. Brushing twice a day is good enough, unless you have braces, in which case you must brush after every meal.
- Jivha Nirleghana or Tongue Scraping: Tongue scraping every time you brush with a copper or stainless-steel scraper helps stimulate the reflex points located on the tongue. It eliminates bad breath, improves one's sense of taste and stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes.
- Pratisarana or Massaging the teeth and gums:This was traditionally practiced with a herbal paste or honey with the objective to remove food debris and plaque.
- Kavalagraha or Oil Pulling:Very simply, the practice of oil pulling includes swishing a small quantity of Coconut oil in the mouth, without swallowing for 15-20 minutes. This must be done every morning on an empty stomach before you brush your teeth and it is known to be beneficial to those suffering from headaches, migraine, diabetes and asthma. All the toxins which accumulate in your system overnight can be flushed out with this practice.
At Naad Wellness, oral health is taken very seriously indeed. Every guest, irrespective of the duration of stay is given a dental consultation along with a basic cleansing and scaling. Oil pulling too is a daily practice and a shot of oil is given to every guest each night for oil pulling the following morning.
While I'm certain most of us are already brushing and tongue scraping regularly, oil pulling is something I strongly recommend you add into your daily routine. You can start with a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil and begin with 10 minutes at a time and then gradually extend to 20 minutes. Begin with a small quantity and then gradually increase it once you are used to the process.
Remember to also visit your dentist at least once in six months. We learnt this in school but a lot of us are guilty of not following it! Be rest assured that even if you do not have any cavities or teeth trouble, a routine check-up will help prevent any problems that might arise in the future, saving you a lot of pain and discomfort later.
If you have any questions on best oral hygiene practices, feel free to write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author:An MD from SSR Ayurveda Medical College and a graduate of the JSS Ayurveda Medical College, Dr. Sreelakshmi brings with her an experience of over five years, having worked with renowned Ayurvedic hospitals through the span of her career.Her core expertise is gynaecological health and she also specialises in the Panchakarma form of treatment.