Brushing / Cleaning the teeth according to Ayurveda

by Dr. Prasanna Venkatesh

Materials to be used

  • Twigs of some roots / branches of the plants like Karanja (ಹೊಂಗೆ), Apamarga (ಉತ್ತರಣೆ), Mango (ಮಾವು) etc, which possess astringent (ಕಷಾಯ / ಒಗರು), bitter (ಕಹಿ) & pungent (ಖಾರ)
  • The twigs should be the thickness of the little finger, straight, devoid of knots & obtained from the tree grown in good place. It should be of 12 angula
  • It’s one end is made like a brush by chewing and the teeth cleaned with it in the morning & after meals – twice a day.
  • The twigs of those trees which have sweet / sour / salt tastes, which are very dry, hollow, with bad smell & gummy are contra-indicated.

Here we can observe the difference (with respect to) the life & quality of the teeth between our ancestor’s teeth & ours.

Conditions where brushing is contra – indicated

Brushing (in a rough manner) is generally contra-indicated. Especially in case of indigestion, vomiting, breathlessness (difficulty in breathing), cough, fever, facial paralysis, while feeling thirst, and should be much careful while suffering from heart diseases, eye diseases, E N T (Ear – Nose – Throat) diseases (as they lead to more Dosha imbalance and pull the Dosahs upwards).

What is the need of all these old techniques, when different brands of tooth paste are available in market???

Different brands of paste are available in market which are sold for commercial purpose, & are not good for healthy teeth. Ayurveda clearly mentions salt taste (lavana rasa) should not be used for brushing teeth. But we see adds saying “whether you have salt in your paste?”

Advertisements depict their models to be having perfect white glowing teeth by the usage of these pastes. Caution is required in this regard as whatever is shown on screen is not true.

Our acharyas had a clear idea what should be the measurement & type of tooth brush bristle. We get different tooth brushes in market which are almost similar to description told by acharyas. These can be used for daily use. As using of medicinal stalks for brushing may not be very convenient one can use medicated tooth powders which are available. Ex: Gum tone, Vajradanti, Gau-ganga dantamanjana etc. The usage of these will be beneficial to maintain the health of teeth & gums.

Usage of rough brush, brushing with too much force is not good as it destroys the enamel on the teeth. One should brush from lower to upper teeth (in low to upward direction).

Intake of excessive hot / cold, too hard substances is harmful for the health of teeth. By following these simple techniques one can prevent the diseases.

Cleaning of gums

After cleaning the teeth, gums are also to be cleaned gently, by rubbing with nice powders of few (medicinally valuable) herbs like Triphala (ಅಳಲೆಕಾಯಿ – ತಾರೆಕಾಯಿ – ನೆಲ್ಲಿಕಾಯಿ) / Trikatu (ಕಾಳುಮೆಣಸು – ಶುಂಠಿ – ಹಿಪ್ಪಲಿ) mixed with honey. This procedure avoids recurrent infections to the gums.

Cleaning of tongue

TONGUE is to be cleaned by scraping it gently & comfortably with a tongue scraper made out of metal like GOLD / SILVER etc or any suitable substances. Scraping should be from the root of the tongue to tip. (Not in the reverse direction). This will remove the dirt, bad taste and smell of the tongue – mouth – teeth. Also it produces better taste, cleanliness and softness of mouth and avoids the diseases of the tongue, mouth and teeth.


Author is Chief Physician, Sriranga Ayurveda Chikitsa Mandira, Prakruthi Ayurveda Pratistana ®, Mysore

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