Ayurvedic oral hygiene and dental care
Having healthy teeth influences our wellbeing and physical health.
Did you know that tooth decay and diseases affecting the periodontium are among the most common diseases worldwide?
Ayurveda knows successful strategies that can be used to care for our teeth, gums and oral cavity and keep them healthy. We will explain why ayurvedic oral hygiene is so much more than simply cleaning your teeth and what Ayurveda experts recommend to prevent plaque, bad breath, tooth decay and gum inflammation from becoming a problem in the first place.
Developing good preventive hygiene habits
The motto “Prevention is better than cure” underpins the principles of Ayurveda and applies in equal measure to dental and oral health. The good personal hygiene habits embodied in “Swasth Vrata” help to promote our health in a simple way on a daily basis. In addition to brushing your teeth thoroughly, this involves above all the morning routine of cleaning the tongue and Gandusha, or oil pulling.
Cleaning your Teeth - the most important part of dental health
Beautiful, well-kept teeth are a sign of vitality and attractiveness. They light up our smile, make us feel good and are important for our digestion as they help us to break down food by chewing.
Careful teeth-cleaning is one of the first steps in the ayurvedic morning routine and is essential if we are to keep our teeth healthy.
Ayurveda recommends cleaning the teeth morning and evening but interestingly not necessarily after every meal so as to prevent the removal of the natural dental enamel and “good” bacteria. However, Ayurveda does recommend rinsing the mouth with clear water after eating and also advises using certain spices such as fennel, sesame or cardamom afterwards to refresh the mouth and keep the breath fresh.
It is particularly beneficial to rinse the mouth with water after consuming acidic food and drinks such as fruit or fruit juice. After that it is best to wait 15-30 minutes before brushing the teeth. Ayurveda uses a range of valuable herbs to protect the teeth and gums. The most important ones are contained in our Ayurdent toothpaste *.. You can choose between classic and mild flavours to suit your taste. The only difference between Mild and Classic is that Classic contains the full intensity of all the herbs and oils, whilst Mild is lighter in terms of flavour and strength.
* With 21 herbs. Helps in fighting bacteria and controlling plaque. Soothes the gums. Gives a fresh feeling.
In contrast to most conventional toothpastes, the vegan and BDIH/COSMOS NATURAL certified Ayurdent toothpaste is light brown in colour, an indication of its high concentration of herbs and Acacia catechu extract, the latter being particularly recommended in Ayurveda for dental health. The toothpaste contains 21 highly concentrated herbs and essential oils including neem, clove oil and peppermint oil, which act instantly on the oral mucosa and create a wonderfully fresh feeling. Regardless of which toothpaste you choose:
- Ayurdent helps to combat bacteria & plaque,
- It soothes the gums,
- It creates a pleasant fresh feeling, and
- It provides long-lasting fresh breath.
What is more, it does not contain any harmful chemicals such as chemical foaming agents or fluoride!
Cleaning your tongue in the morning is anything but luxury!
Our sensitive tongue is a valuable tool, be it for speaking, tasting or digesting. There are plenty of reasons, therefore, to pay it a little more attention.
During the night, toxins and waste products or Ama (see note) accumulate on the tongue. In some people, this can even form an unpleasant noticeable, visible coating. This coating is sometimes linked to digestive problems.
As confirmed by the German Dental Association, bacterial coating and food remains on the tongue not only affect our fine taste buds, they can also create bad breath. In fact, 90% of causes of bad breath stem from the mouth, with half of all cases being caused by the tongue or, more precisely, metabolic products from bacteria which readily settle on its rough surface. According to various studies, regular cleaning of the tongue can significantly reduce coating, and making the tongue feel noticeably cleaner.
Cleaning the tongue in the morning with a tongue cleaner (Jivha nirlekhan) has been an ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years. This simple method has been confirmed as effective by numerous studies. A Toronto study found that cleaning the tongue reduces putrid gases and bad breath by about 75%, whereas usual teeth cleaning only produces a reduction of about 25%. The mechanical removal of microorganisms thus plays a key role in combating bad breath. In addition, the physicians' association of North Rhine says that tongue cleaning could, like brushing your teeth, help to reduce the risk of caries and to support dental health.
If possible, stainless steel, silver or silver plated tongue cleaners should be used. The latter has the added advantage of having antibacterial properties. Plastic is less effective as it may give off microplastics with regular use, which can be absorbed by the body and disrupt the tongue flora.
You should never brush young tongue with a toothbrush as this can damage the sensitive taste buds on your tongue.
Tongue cleaning – quick & simple
- Grip the ends of the tooth cleaner with both hands and hold in a horizontal position.
- Place the curved part on the base of the tongue and gently pull over the tongue a few times from back to front.
- Rinse the mouth with a little water and rinse the tongue cleaner under running water.
Watch our video on oral hygiene and learn more about tongue cleaning and what it does for your health.
Gandusha – intensive cleaning with oil pulling
Another important part of the ayurvedic morning routine is Gandusha, otherwise known as “oil pulling”. This simple, inexpensive oil treatment allows you to clean your mouth and teeth even more thoroughly. Done regularly and in the correct way, oil pulling can significantly improve oral hygiene.
The only things you need are a little time and some high-quality oil. Dr. Saurabh Sharma recommends using the purest possible cold-pressed sesame oil or coconut oil for oil pulling. Sesame oil should be “ripened” by heating it once to around 108 °C and then transferring it to a clean bottle after cooling.
As you move the oil quickly around the mouth and it mixes with saliva, it can absorb waste products and thus rid your mouth of any Ama that has accumulated in your mouth (see note). The oil also reaches hidden areas such as the spaces between the teeth and protects the mucous membranes at the same time.
Oil pulling – step by step!
- Pour 1-2 tablespoons of oil into the mouth.
- Move the oil all around the mouth, pull it between the teeth and gargle with it.
- After approx. 3 minutes, dispose of the white, frothy oil in a paper towel or container (do not pour down the drain!).
- Repeat the process if you wish. The oil pulling process can take 5-7 minutes altogether.
- Rinse your mouth with water and, again, spit it into a container.
Modern studies confirm the positive effects of traditional oil pulling. This process can lower the bacterial count in the mouth and help reduce plaque, the occurrence of tooth decay and bad breath. Modern research confirms the value of oil pulling, a technique which has been practised for thousands of years in Ayurveda, when done in combination with daily teeth cleaning.
Ayurdent Gum Care Oil – Daily balsam for the gums
Treating the gums with a special oil is recommended as the final part of the oral hygiene routine. This involves spraying a little Gum Care Oil into the mouth twice a day after cleaning the teeth or mouth. Then gently massage the oil into the gums for 1-2 minutes, using a clean finger.
Our BDIH/COSMOS NATURAL certified Gum Care Oil has been made using traditional recipes. Using ripened organic sesame oil as a base, it contains 21 selected herbs, valuable plant-based ingredients and the purest of essential oils that reveal their pure, natural flavours and balancing effects when massaged into the gums.
Ayurdent Gum Care Oil has a pleasant flavour and can be used to treat, soothe and strengthen the gums. It actively acts against biofilms and plaque, gum inflammation and bad breath.
Nutrition – strengthening the teeth and gums
In Ayurveda the teeth are associated with the Asthi Dhatu which also forms the anatomical framework of our body. Asthi means bones. This means that our teeth automatically benefit when we are kind to our bones.
An important way of strengthening our bones is by consuming calcium, which is contained above all in dairy products, but also in green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, rocket and fennel as well as in nuts and sesame seeds.
A healthy level of magnesium in the body also strengthens our bones. Nuts, pulses and wholemeal products should therefore form a significant part of our diet.
We should also make sure to move regularly (at least 30 minutes of walking in daylight) in order to stimulate bone metabolism and guarantee a healthy level of vitamin D.
It is also important to avoid excess consumption of products that deplete calcium such as salt, caffeine, Coca Cola and soft drinks.
There is no question about it: sugar damages the teeth! Anyone who is in the habit of snacking on sweets on a regular basis or even at night will put a huge strain on their teeth. The combination of acid and sugar, which is found in soft drinks but also in fruit juices and spritzers, is particularly harmful for the enamel. Anyone who cannot give up on sugar (yet) should drink some water afterwards.
According to ayurvedic texts, a simple, natural way of refreshing the breath is to chew herbs after eating. Particular favourites include aniseed, fennel and sesame seeds as well as cardamom and cloves. They not only taste good but also stimulate the digestive system..
Far too little attention is paid to the correct way of chewing. Chewing not only breaks down our food and prepares it for digestion in the stomach, it also activates the digestive juices. Thorough chewing is therefore extremely important, as is eating at the right time. Aligning meals with the ayurvedic daily routine is a simple way of reducing the accumulation of toxins.
We hope you enjoy trying out these products and tips!
Your Maharishi Ayurveda Team
Thank you to our experts Dr. Richa Shrivastava and Vaidya Dr. Saurabh Sharma for your expert support!