Ayurveda has remedies for almost every illness and health issue known to man. The divine medical system of the gods also has a distinctive branch of dental medicine. This includes tending to the teeth and gums with regular Ayurveda methods, as well as cures for many teeth and gum related problems.
Dental care involves many aspects like oral hygiene as well as food consumption patterns. In the ancient science of Ayurveda, there are several dental therapies for curing and preventing oral issues.
In Ayurveda, dental health is called danta swasthya. It involves a very individualized prakriti (constitution) based system of healing. It also has relation with climatic changes from solar, lunar and planetary influences or kala-parinama. Most teeth problems are sorted out by balancing the three dosha – vata, pitta and kapha as per the problem at hand. It is said that most dental issues crop up because of kapha dosha imbalances. The Shalaka Tantra, a text on the Ayurveda systems of surgical procedures also states the presence of dental surgery as an arm of ancient medicine.
Our teeth are a very sensitive entity despite being hard structures. They are connected to the mucous membrane inside the mouth and embedded firmly in the jaw structure. Their role is varied – from chewing and grinding food which is important for digestion to pronunciation of words for lucidity in speech. They also carry aesthetic value and enhance one’s beauty and appeal. Along with the gums, teeth need to be taken care of properly for promoting good oral health. If dental hygiene is not maintained it started to affect other physical processes and also makes one’s appearance unpleasant.
Toothaches are a common problem. It can be easily solved by Ayurveda. A combination of rock salt and ginger can provide immediate respite from tooth pain. One can also mix rock salt with a spoonful of mustard and massage the teeth and gums with it. Turmeric powder can also be used in place of rock salt. One can also infuse clove oil with cinnamon and sesame for lessening the pain. Another option is using a dense paste consisting of clove oil, vinegar and the bark of bay berry plant. The mouth must be rinsed with water after massaging with any of the above mentioned concoctions. These combinations are very effective in alleviating toothache as well as other dental issues such as swollen gums, bleeding gums, pyorrhea etc. It kills germs and strengthens gums and teeth. One must also abstain from sweet foods, aerated drinks and carbohydrates. In case of pain in gums, spicy, sour, hot and fried foodstuff must be clearly avoided. There is also a system called oil pulling with kaval, gandush etc. that cures close to thirty tooth-related problems.
Brushing one’s teeth daily in the morning is a great way to start the day. One should actually brush after meals as it is important to avoid dental complications. Using Ayurvedic based toothpastes are good. One can also chew on neem sticks or herbal tooth powders. One should never eat anything before brushing the teeth in the morning. Especially tea should not be drunk as it increases pitta dosha leading to acidity and constipation. If one cannot brush after meals in case at work or elsewhere, then fresh water gargles are fine too.
Some people also land up with yellow and dirty teeth. Nicotine stains from constant smoking of cigarettes can really make teeth ugly and brown. To overcome such problems one must make a tooth powder consisting of rock salt and lime. Also, one can use a fusion of rock salt, kekar and a little roasted alum. This is a great whitening agent. Before going to bed at night, one can also rub orange peels on the teeth. This also enhances the white color and creates gloss. It is a simple tip but with spectacular results.
If one has any kind of calcium deficiency in the diet it can cause tooth decay. This needs to be taken care of immediately. A quick trick is to make dietary adjustment and up the levels of foods with calcium content. Addition of dairy products like milk, yogurt, curds etc. is very good along with the inclusion of raw veggies to the extent possible. Again there is a specific vegetable list depending on one’s dosha prevalence. One must avoid sweet substances. One must prepare a mixture of turmeric, table salt and mustard oil for application twice a day.
Bad breath is another common problem due to poor oral hygiene. It is a very repulsive condition. Of course one must brush one’s teeth whenever possible. Ayurveda also suggests the using of mildly warmed lemon water or fenugreek tea. Fresh guavas are also said to be a great way to fight bad breath. One can also chew a clove or a sprig of mint after meals for fresh breath. Amla or gooseberry is also a good rebuilder of oral health.
Gum bleeding is another oral issue that can crop up if teeth are weak. One should not keep poking cavities with a tooth pick as it can cause bleeding too. Brushing one’s teeth with neem paste or chewing on a neem twig is suitable. Massaging gently with alum, table salt and alum formula is also highly useful for bleeding gums. Leaves from guava trees are helpful. One should chew a couple of guava leaves daily to gain natural healing benefits. Increase in the amount of roughage and Vitamin C rich citrus fruits like oranges, mandarin oranges, key lime, tangerines, etc. can also provide relief. The patient must also consume a decent amount of raw and green leafy veggies. Cloves and turmeric paste also yields cure. Bilberry fruit and hawthorn berry is used to stabilize collagen and enhance the gum tissues. Also licorice root should be used aplenty. It promotes anti-cavity action and reduces plaque. It has great anti-bacterial effects which protects the teeth from bacterial attacks from food debris.
Thus, Ayurveda has been aiding humans for thousands of years in keeping the teeth and gums healthy and disease-free.