Daily health and hygiene regimen according to Ayurveda is referred to as dincharya or ‘daily practice’. This is a regular regimen to keep an individual’s mind and body in optimum health and wellness. Everyone’s regular health and hygiene regimen will be different depending on age, gender, environmental factor, state of health, body type, and seasonal factors. Daily health regimens or Nitya karama have different components like showering/bathing, Dantdhawan, Nasyam, Asana, Meditation, and Pranayama, Dhoompan etc., and most important among these components is one’s daily oral hygiene practice, which includes maintaining optimal health of your teeth, gums, and tongue. We will outline a typical Ayurvedic dental care regimen that can be adjusted depending on personal need and circumstances.
Before the day starts, early morning is considered the most important time to care for your oral hygiene. As bacteria and plaque tend to accumulate (increase in number) in your mouth overnight and cause offensive “morning breath”, it is important to notice and address this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Thus the mouth will be free of bacteria, clean, the breath fresh, and the sense of taste living for the day.
Oil pulling (Kavala Graha)
The initial step of the morning ritual is oil pulling (Kavala Graha), an ancient Ayurvedic ritual in which a tablespoon of oil(commonly preferred oil is sesame oil) is used to “pull out” impurities and bacteria (known as ama in Ayurveda)from the mouth. Swishing oil around the mouth and between the teeth(without swallowing) for five to twenty minutes and then spitting out is known as kavalgraha. The mouth can be rinsed gently with hot water after that, and then the person can further proceed to brush of teeth. Swishing with the oil can be done at the same time as taking showering to save time.
Brushing your teeth
Ayurvedic physicians in ancient times recommended brushing teeth with twigs made from medicinal trees like Neem, Kikar, Jamun, etc, in the present era it is best to brush teeth with an appropriate toothbrush with soft bristles and a specially formulated ayurvedic Manjan or Paste. It will help in removing accumulated bacteria, tartar, a plaque from the enamel surface of teeth. The ingredients of the toothpaste have medicinal properties which will help to keep the gums healthy and to freshen the breath.
Scraping of the tongue (jihvasodhana)
After brushing your teeth, the next practice in the morning ritual should be scraping the tongue with a tongue scraper. Tongue scraping is an ancient ayurvedic ritual (jihvanirlekhan) that cleanses the tongue and keeps it free from germs and helps in combating foul breath. It helps in stimulating the taste buds before breakfast.
Swishing with mouthwash
The last step in your morning oral hygiene ritual must be to swish your mouth with an Ayurvedic mouth wash or herbal decoction, which will ensure removing leftover germs on all the places in the oral cavity left by brushing and scraping, like under the floor of the tongue or on the roof of the mouth.
During the day it can be beneficial to invest a few minutes caring for your oral cavity after meals. A toothpick can help to remove any large food particles. Followed by a quick swish of ayurvedic mouthwash, this can be entire that’s required to keep the mouth clean, germ-free and the breath fresh throughout the day.
After your dinner and before going to the bed is the final main step of the day for investing few minutes for your teeth and gums care. This will ensure that any stuck food particles are removed from the teeth, dental plaque, tartar, and bacteria do not accumulate overnight while sleeping overnight.
Brushing your teeth
According to allopathic and ayurvedic experts, it is advised to brush the teeth two times a day, both during morning and night. Twice daily brushing of the teeth has been the recommended practice for many centuries and is even mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic text Charak Samhita.
Flossing between your teeth
Flossing across the teeth is a very effective practice at removing stuck food particles and reducing the formation of plaque and removing the tartar. It should be done at least once a day and it is generally advised to floss before going to bed rather than in the morning, as this ensures that any solid food particle does not stick in the teeth overnight.
Swishing with mouthwash
In the end, another swish with herbal kashayam (mouthwash) will give the final cleansing to your mouth before going to bed and it will keep your breath free from odor throughout the night. Caring for your teeth, tongue, and gums with this daily Ayurvedic regimen will ensure optimal oral hygiene and contribute much more to your overall health.
How to read your tongue
According to Ayurveda, different parts of the tongue related to different organs of the body. Ayurvedic physicians examine their patient’s tongue which helps to diagnose disease. The front 1/3 of the tongue relates to the neck, lungs, heart, chest; the central 3rd relates to the pancreas, stomach, liver, and spleen; and the rear one-third area relates to the lower abdominal organs, like the ileum, duodenum, and colon. Discoloration, patches, depressions, or elevations on tongue areas signify all sorts of physical, and metabolic imbalances. If your teeth have left impressions along the margin of your tongue, you may be experiencing poor intestinal absorption. A white coating that covers your entire tongue indicates toxins in the intestines. A line down the middle of the tongue reflects that you’re retaining emotions along your vertebral column, which can lead to stiffening of the back. So the tongue elaborates the tale of the body and the mind.
Remedies for tooth and gum problems
FOR RECEDING GUMS AND SENSITIVE TEETH:
Moisten a toothbrush with water and Put a few drops of tea tree oil on the brush. Brush your teeth. After that with the help of a cotton swab apply some tea tree oil to the exposed part of the gums. Applying tea tree oil to your dental floss can treat deep pockets of infection.
FOR A TOOTHACHE:
Place a small piece of edible camphor (not the synthetic kind) next to the painful tooth can also use a clove instead of camphor. The saliva will mix with the camphor and will relieve the toothache. If you have a cavity then visit your doctor.
FOR COLD SORES:
Applying aloe vera gel or pulp directly onto the affected area can be beneficial. At night, take one-third tablespoon of Triphala powder (a mild ayurvedic laxative) in warm water. This will pacify systemic pitta (the fire element of the body) and relieve your symptoms.
FOR CANKER SORES:
Having half cup of cranberry juice half an hour before meals can relieve canker sores and any burning sensations or irritation.
Massaging the gums with mustard oil and turmeric paste can be helpful in gingivitis.
FOR BLEEDING GUMS:
Drink one glass of orange juice mixed with one Indian gooseberry juice and a pinch of cumin. Ensure consuming enough amount of vitamin C.
TO PREVENT CAVITIES:
Have 1gram of finely ground cardamom with oatmeal. Cardamom is aromatic, stimulating, and refreshing. It also improves digestive fire, relieves acidity, and freshens the breath.