Beautiful and healthy teeth with pure breath are an expression of vitality and health. Intensive oral healthcare hygiene is very important for health.
Ayurveda has an individualistic approach for the health of the mouth. It looks for each individual’s constitution which is known as Prakriti, current environmental influences such as weather, relationships, mental/emotional state, diet, and lifestyle), and the current state of imbalance known as vikriti.
The doshas help define various oral types which help determine the potential problems one may experience in his/her mouth.
- Vata dominant, characterized by dry rough, cracked, thin, receding gums, tooth pain, and cavities.
- Pitta dominant, characterized by sensitivity, ulcers, bleeding gums, and allergies, prone to redness.
- Kapha dominant, characterized by mucus, dental plaque and tartar, and thick and white coating on the tongue.
Bodhaka Kapha is one of the subtypes of the above dosha and plays a role of primer player in the mouth and has the following functions,
- Regulates oral bacteria
- Initiates digestion of carbohydrates
- Supports speech and vocal cords
- Lubricates oral tissue
- Maintains oral temperature
- Helps in receiving knowledge of taste
- Supports immune function
According to Ayurveda, a healthy mouth is the one in which the Bodhaka Kapha thrives. If Bodhaka Kapha is disordered or imbalanced, it not only impacts the oral health but also the Kapha systems of the body. This means when we care for our mouth the deeper organs and tissues are also supported.
Neglecting oral health can negatively impact overall health.
Many people find that their oral problems improve after adopting Ayurvedic hygiene practices as it helps eliminate or reduce the occurrence of dreaded dental problems like cavities, receding gums, tooth sensitivity, and cracked teeth.
Ayurveda Concept of Teeth
- We often consider teeth as lifeless whereas according to Ayurveda, teeth are actually the by-product of the bone tissue which means healthy teeth can be correlated with the health of bones.
- Just like other tissues teeth can become injured, nutrient deficient and depleted and also, they can heal. Even after a cavity is formed the strong outer tooth surface can be re-established. It is thought that fillings, crown, and root canals inherently compromise the integrity of the teeth.
- The teeth like all other tissues are affected by the quality of nutrition, overall health, and stress. A whole-body approach can complement the oral health.
- In Ayurveda science, the teeth are considered a site of VATA dosha, which acts its best when deep nourishment and soothing care is given. It works the same for the teeth and the gums.
- Ayurvedic practices are supportive of oral health. They are gentle nourishing and deeply supportive of Vata.
Ayurvedic Strategies For Oral Health
In addition, to daily brushing Ayurvedic strategies can be practiced to promote optimal oral health.
In Ayurveda, the health of organs such as lungs, spleen, kidney, liver, and stomach is assessed by looking at the tongue.
It is important to clean the tongue with a tongue cleaner rather than a toothbrush as the toothbrush can be harsh on the tongue which is soft and spongy.
Cleaning the tongue every day serves the following benefits:
- Improves oral hygiene
- Promotes fresh breath
- Clears toxins and bacteria from the tongue
- Stimulates the internal organs
- Enhances the sense of taste
- Removes the unwanted coating from the tongue
- Enriches oral digestive and overall health
- Tongue should be cleaned at the start of each day with a tongue cleaner. Be gentle while cleaning the tongue, it should not bleed or become sore.
Oil pulling is done by swishing one tablespoon of oil in the mouth for about twenty minutes. It is swished in the mouth and between the teeth and contacts the tissues throughout the oral cavity.
Oil is a nourishing and a soothing substance and is deeply Vata pacifying. It has all the qualities which soothe and balance Vata.
There is a lipid-based cell membrane on the exterior of cells of certain microbes which shares an affinity with oil. There are many single-celled based organisms which inhabit in the mouth, which when coming in contact with oil adhere to it and detach from the teeth and gums.
This therefore helps in removal of plaque and odor causing bacteria and protect against oral microbe imbalance.
Oil pulling encourages:
- fresh breath
- promotes balance in the oral muscles
- maintains normal pH
- prevents plaque build-up
- increases circulation to oral tissues
- Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic formulation which consists of amalaki, bibhitaki, haritaki. It is a tridoshic and balances Vata, pitta, and Kapha.
- It helps rejuvenate the tissues and cleans and detoxifies the system.
- Triphala tea helps enhance the entire digestive health. It can be swished in the oral cavity to maintain the health of bodhaka kapha.
A study found that triphala was effective in marinating healthy teeth, gums, and oral cavity amongst the adolescent boys who used the decoction of triphala for swishing (1).
Triphala tea benefits in the following ways:
- Preserves the health of Bodhaka Kapha
- Detoxifies the body
- Enhances the sense of taste
- Cleanses and nourishes the oral cavity
- Encourages the saliva to be thin and liquid
Ayurveda recommends brushing teeth and cleaning the mouth first thing in the morning. It helps clear out the dead and decaying matter and prevents them from entering the digestive system.