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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Ayurvedic Practices for Oral Health

Jan 31, 2020 09:30AM
by Dr. Zahra Punjani

Originating in India thousands of years ago, Ayurvedic medicine is considered the world’s oldest medical protocol; it seeks to establish and maintain a balance of body, mind and spirit.

Oral hygiene is considered a crucial factor in promoting this balance. If any oral function is impaired, digestive strength can suffer, as well as the health of the whole body. For example, problems with the teeth and gums can compromise one’s ability to chew, which may impair some of the chemical interactions that are fundamental to digestion.

For optimal health, Ayurveda stresses the removal of ama, or toxins, from the body to improve oral hygiene. The National Institute for Health published 22 studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Ayurvedic methods of detoxification. Below are recommendations that have proven safe and effective.

Oil Pulling


Recent studies have supported the value of oil pulling for oral health. It is known to reduce plaque and lower the bacterial count and so helps with detoxification and purification of the mouth. The technique, comprised of swishing oil around the mouth, can be both preventive and curative for several dental ailments, and it has proven to reduce gingival index scores, plaque index scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms, including Streptococcus and Lactobacillus. The practice also has been shown to greatly reduce gingival inflammation and even help whiten teeth. For best results, organic, unrefined, cold-pressed sesame oil and organic virgin coconut oil are recommended.

Curcumin


Extracted from turmeric, curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial herb that supports mouth health. In dentistry, curcumin acts as a therapeutic agent by:
Protecting against free radical damage through strong antioxidant properties
Reducing histamine levels and balancing natural cortisone
Improving blood circulation

Aloe Vera


This fresh plant gel is widely used for its therapeutic properties, including moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, wound healing, and pain relief. Applying aloe vera on sites of periodontal surgery or tooth extractions aids healing. Direct application can help to heal viral lesions, ulcers and cracked lips. Aloe also has shown to help in other chronic diseases.

Amla


The fruit of the amla, or gooseberry, is known to support periodontal health and to strengthen the gingival tissue around the teeth. The fruit has cumulative benefits and long-lasting effects in fighting bacteria and preventing tooth decay and bad breath. In its native India, the fresh fruit is chewed, but amla capsules and powder are easily available via online retailers.
One way to use amla is in tea. Place two green tea bags in boiling water. Once cooled, add one tablespoon of amla powder. Refrigerate and shake well before using.
 Additionally, to improve gum health, use amla powder mixed in water to form a paste, and massage the paste onto the gums.

Neem


Neem is an herb from the tree of the same name. Several studies have revealed the herb’s antibacterial properties against common pathogens of the oral cavity. A study compared the antimicrobial activity of commercially available herbal dental cream that contained neem with conventional fluoride-containing toothpaste in school children; both toothpastes showed a positive antimicrobial effect on cavity-producing bacteria. Another study showed that a neem-based mouth rinse demonstrated anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis activity. Brushing with a neem toothpaste after every meal and using a mouthwash with neem extract is a recommended treatment for preventing gingivitis.

Tongue Cleaning


By cleaning the surface of the tongue, its ability to detect the six tastes is optimized. The simple action of tongue scraping reduces toxins and dead bacteria from the tongue, prevents bad breath and helps with digestive system function. Ideally, scrape your tongue before eating and after oil pulling.
 
Zahra Punjani, DMD, IAOMT, is a SMART-certified holistic dentist specializing in family dentistry with interests in complementary and holistic care for total body wellness. Contact her at DrPunjani.com or 762-499-3479.

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