The very first thing in the mornings after evacuation of bowel would be the cleansing of the teeth. Purpose of this act mainly as first thing in the morning would be to arrest the germ activities which will have exaggerated at night (in sleep). Ayurvedic oral hygiene is much different from the contemporary concepts. Present modern concepts advice brushing twice a day with fluoride medicated toothpastes. But we see in recent days that the ingredients of toothpastes commercially available in the market now are loaded with dangerous chemicals and health ruining ingredients which can have long terms effects. So, here are some of the ingredients which are frequently used in many of the toothpastes but can be potentially harmful-
- Triclosans – This chemical is basically used as an anti-bacterial, but seems like it has more hazardous effects than the good it does. It is said to be linked to cancer, early puberty in girls, hormonal imbalances. Some research also shows interference with cell-signaling to the brain.
- Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)– It is used as a foaming agent not only in toothpastes but also in various other personal care products like shampoos for foaming action. Known to be very harmful, this chemical can lead to skin irritation, a potential carcinogen as it is well known to be. Best bet to avoid it may be?
- Aspartame– Don’t all of us like to have sweet toothpaste? So, It is mainly used as an artificial sweetener. But seems like this is not a good recommendation. The breakdown of this product in the body would produce methanol which might cause, Headaches, dizziness, vertigo, vomiting sensations etc.
- Flouride– Though known to protect the teeth from cavities, it has been proved to be harmful either. It is said to collect in the body tissues eventually leading to serious neurological and endocrine dysfunctions.
- Propylene glycol– Used frequently as a surfactant, known to cause skin, eye and lung irritation.
- Diethanolamine (DEA)– used in many foaming products. Ranked high in organ toxicity and moderate in cancer risk.
So, with all these primary information, let’s check the contents of any toothpaste before selecting one from the markets. After all, better be safe than sorry.
What next ? Ayurveda recommends better dental health with flowing considerations-
- Most important texts of Ayurveda recommends, Astringent, bitter and spicy (pungent) tastes as best suited for brushing. Eg- drugs like vata (Ficus bengalensis), arka(Calotropis gigantea), Kharanja(Pongamia pinnata), khadira(Acacia catechu), Arjuna(Terminalia arjuna), Asana(Pterocarpus marsupium), nimba(Azadirachta indica) are best ones. If we analyses all these drugs, they are anti-septic and can also maintain the normal pH in the oral cavity.
- Sweet, salt and sour tastes are not suggested for brushing. The reasons are obvious, like sweet tastes can increase the germs growing in the cavity (just like sweets and chocolates does it).
- Ayurveda tells us to use twigs (of thickness of our little finger) for brushing. One end of the twig must be chewed with teeth to form it like a brush. These drugs help in getting rid of bad odour, improve taste sensations and also maintain good health of tongue and gums. But using twigs like these has practical hurdles especially for urban population. They can make use of toothpowders which are free from these harmful chemicals and which possess the above said herbs as well. Toothpowders can be a better choice as its roughness can cleanse better.
Care of tongue with Ayurveda–
“Jihwa nirlekhana” is suggested by Ayurveda specially with long strips of metal or wood. Usually used for this purpose would be steel/copper rods (tongue scrappers). Ayurveda also mentions use of silver rods for its health benefits.This also helps in kindling the digestive enzymes because tongue is stimulated in this act.
This was a very brief description of what Ayurveda has to offer about dental hygiene. In classical texts we do get more elaborate points. So, hope this small attempt helps you in maintaining oral health along with avoiding chemicals as first thing in the morning.
Upcoming articles would tell you about importance of other regimens like Gargling etc.
Happy time with natural smile!!!!!!!! STAY TUNED.