How you can make your way to a healthy smile, naturally..
What’s the secret of a healthy smile? It’s as simple as taking good care of your teeth and gums, which play a huge role in our lives. They help us talk, chew and give us that million dollar smile. But that’s not all! Research shows that most systemic illnesses have strong oral manifestations. There is more to teeth than meets the eye. Dental problems, either as a cause or as an indication, have been connected to heart disease, poor bone health and several other ailments.
Though teeth are the hardest substance in the human body, they are prone to many problems. As we grow older, our dental problems also increase. Unlike children, who suffer from cavities, adults have multiple dental problems like bleeding gums, bad breath, inflammation of gums and ulceration of the oral mucous membrane…
The No.1 adult dental problem is gum disease or periodontitis. The majority of adults also suffer from bad breath or halitosis at some point in their life. Poor oral hygiene in adults also leads to build up of plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. This could lead to demineralising the tooth enamel causing tooth decay and infection of the gums.
It is therefore important to follow good oral hygiene habits in order to avoid dental problems that could be both embarrassing and agonising. This can be easily achieved by spending a few minutes everyday on oral care.
Ayurveda propagates the use of natural ingredients like plants and herbs to maintain health and well being. Thousands of herbs have been carefully selected and studied by Ayurvedic physicians and their therapeutic benefits have been detailed in several texts.
Ayurveda refers to many herbal ingredients like neem, babul, meswak, tumburu, pomegranate and triphala to help maintain good dental hygiene.
Nimba (Neem/Azadirachta indica) is one of the most beneficial natural medicines found in the Indian subcontinent. Scientific studies have shown that neem is very effective against human plaque and bacteria that cause the tooth-gum disease. For healthy teeth, it helps in strengthening the roots of the teeth, cleans and maintains its whiteness.
Babbula (Babul/Acacia arabica) tree is found in some parts of South Asia, tropical Africa and some parts of West Asia. It is useful in the treatment of mouth ulcers. Clinical studies have shown that this plant helps inhibit early deposition of plaque.
Meswak is a shrub or a small tree native to India, Africa and Middle East. The twigs are used as chewing stick or toothbrush. The extracts from the wood are known to possess antimicrobial properties that clean the teeth, reduce caries and periodontal disease.
Tumburu (Xanthoxylum alatum) helps treat toothache, bleeding gums and sensitive teeth. Found in the valley of the sub-tropical Himalayas, this lemony scented tree has been used in home remedies around the world to relieve toothache.
Dadima (Pomegranate/Punica granatum) juice is mainly used as a health drink. It is also an antioxidant and exhibits astringent and anti-bacterial activity. The rind helps in strengthening the gums and stops them from bleeding. It has potent antifungal activity that prevents many oral infections.
Triphala, a blend of three herbs — namely Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula and Terminalia bellirica is an astringent — which arrests bleeding of gums. Research studies have shown that it inhibits an enzyme responsible for degradation of the tooth enamel thus preventing periodontitis.
So make your way to a healthy smile naturally.
The writer is Head, New Product Initiatives, Research & Development Centre, Himalaya Drug Company.
Brush your teeth at least twice daily: morning and at bedtime. If possible, after every meal.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging gums.
Floss daily. You could miss about 35 per cent of your tooth surface if you don’t floss.
Schedule a cleaning and oral examination with your dentist every six months.
Avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks, and tobacco
Cut down on sweets, snacks and processed food to prevent plaque and dental caries.
Signs of good oral hygiene
Teeth are clean and free of remains
No cavities, inflammation of gums or bad breath
Gums do not hurt or bleed while brushing or flossing