Ayurvedic treatment for  Dental plaque

Dental plaque

Know More on Oral Care

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

 Dental plaque Ayurvedic treatment

Plaque is the sticky film containing bacteria that grows on the surface of the teeth. Plaque starts to appear when teeth are not brushed making the teeth feel fuzzy to the tongue.1

Frequent consumption of foods rich in carbohydrates and sugars such as soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy causes them to adhere on to the surface of the teeth, leading to the development of plaque. Bacteria present in the mouth make dental plaque become more acidic, and the acid starts the process that can lead to cavities and ultimately tooth decay. The development of plaque on the tooth under gums may cause breakdown of the supporting bone present underneath.1

Dental health in Ayurveda, called danta swasthya in Sanskrit is customized as per every person’s prakriti or constitution of each person and climatic changes resulting from solar, lunar and planetary influences (kala-parinama). Vata, pitta, or kapha balance is important for a healthy life. When one or two of these doshas vitiate/go out of control, it affects dental health.2

Dental conditions are called Danta sharkara, since the appearance of plaque is similar to the sugar coating over the teeth with a granular shape. It is a disease characterized by hardened accumulation of mala on tooth surface which destroys the teeth and its surrounding structures and is accompanied by bad odour. Vitiated vata takes the form of thick adherence like the thick sugar syrup causing the manifestation of Danta sharkara.2

Causes

 Dental plaque

Some common causes of dental plaque are:3

  • Presence of tooth and gum diseases in the family
  • Eating foods high in sugar
  • Not brushing and flossing regularly
  • Improper dental care

Additional risk factors for which may predispose a person to dental plaque include:3

Breathing via mouth

  • Uneven teeth
  • Presence of dental bridges, braces or partial dentures
  • Diabetes
  • HIV infection
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

Symptoms

 Dental plaque

Following are the symptoms associated with dental plaque:3

  • Dental pain that is triggered by cold or chewing
  • Tenderness in teeth
  • Pus and Drainage from the gums
  • Swelling in the mouth or the tongue
  • Decaying teeth
  • Bad breath with a bad taste in the mouth
  • Loosening of teeth

Diagnosis

 Dental plaque

Dentists carry out the assessment of dental plaque beginning with an oral examination and taking down the medical history. Physical sign indicative of dental plaque includes yellowish build-up on the teeth.3

Management

 Dental plaque

In Ayurveda, dentistry is studied in branch of Shalakya Tantra. Oral care is defined to be very individualistic in Ayurveda, varying with each person's constitution (Prakriti) and the climatic changes. Researchers have shown that Ayurvedic herbal brushes derived from Medicinal Plants like Neem, Khadira and Pilu possess medicinal properties.4,5,6

The ahar (diet) and vihar (lifestyle regime) recommendations for this condition are given below.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Avoid sugar rich food, hard food, non-vegetarian diet, tobacco and use of betel, as these cause the build up of tartar and worsen the problems of dental plaques
  • Green tea, intake of easily digestible and foods with less fat and carbohydrate prevent the formation of tartar
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • The first line of treatment for dental plaque comprises of removal of tartar by avoiding injury to the root of the teeth
  • Regularly practicing flossing, proper tooth brushing, oral rinsing after meals and regular oil pulling or medicated decoctions held/ swirled in mouth (kanval & gandusha karma) helps to get rid of the plaque efficiently and further prevents the formation of tartar
  • Powders of herbs such as nutmeg (Jatiphala), Triphala (Hareetaki, Vibheetaki and Amalaki) and Saindhava lavana rubbed well to the teeth may help to clear the tartar
  • A mixture of ashes of ginger, long pepper, black pepper and salt can be used for brushing the teeth. Turmeric can be added to this mixture in case of bleeding gums

FAQS

 Dental plaque
  1. How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

Ayurveda suggests simple diet and lifestyle changes to prevent toothaches. They are as follows:

Diet

  • Sticky substance which may adhere to the teeth should be avoided
  • Food containing sugar and other sweets should be avoided
  • Fruits like guavas, oranges, pomegranates and other fruits of the citrus family are beneficial as they contain vitamin C which strengthens gums
  • Amla must form the part of the diet since it contains the largest amount of vitamin C and is easily available

Lifestyle

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly and frequent rinsing of the mouth
  • Make a habit of rinsing the mouth after every meal
  • Use natural oils and extracts from clove oil for toothache. Dab a cotton ball in clove oil on the affected tooth and gently bite down. The natural properties of clove oil can help relieve tooth pain and prevent future cavities and bad breath
  • Using saline water to rinse the mouth after meals helps in curing toothache and even other tooth-related problems
  • Mix equal amounts of pepper, salt and few drops of water to form a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area to relieve toothache
  1. What causes teeth to hurt?

Some of the common causes of toothache includes:

  • Dental decay
  • Dental cavities
  • Swelling of the pulp
  • Tooth infection
  • Broken tooth
  • Exposed tooth root
  • Crack in the tooth
  • Consumption of food rich in carbohydrates and sugar like colas, candies, cakes, etc
  • Consuming hot and cold food together
  • Gum disease
  1. What is plaque?

Plaque is the sticky film or mass of bacteria that grows on the surface of the teeth. It is most noticeable when teeth are not brushed and makes teeth feel rough/fuzzy to the tongue.

When food containing carbohydrates and sugars such as soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth, it leads to the development of plaque. Mouth is full of bacteria which thrive on these food particles producing acids. These acids destroy tooth enamel over a period of time resulting in tooth decay. The development of plaque on the tooth under gums may cause breakdown of the supporting bone present underneath.

In Ayurvedic literature, dental conditions are referred as Danta sharkara, since the appearance of plaque is similar to the sugar coating over the teeth with a granular shape. It is a disease characterized by, hardened accumulation of mala on tooth surface which destroys the teeth and its surrounding structures and is accompanied by bad odour. Vitiated vata takes the form of thick adherence like the thick sugar syrup causing the manifestation of Danta sharkara.

  1. How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

Following tips can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy

  • Avoid sugar rich food, hard food, non-vegetarian diet food which will cause the built up of tartar and worsen the problems of dental plaques.
  • Green tea, intake of easily digestible and foods with less fat and carbohydrate prevent the formation of tartar.
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Regularly practicing flossing, proper tooth brushing, oral rinsing and regular oil pulling helps to get rid of the plaque efficiently and further prevents the formation of tartar
  • Herbs such as nutmeg (Jatiphala), Triphala (Hareetaki, Vibheetaki and Amalaki) and Saindhava lavana can be made into a fine powder and rubbed well to the teeth. This helps to clear the tartar
  • A mixture of ashes of ginger, long pepper, black pepper and salt can be used for brushing the teeth. Turmeric can be added to this mixture in case of bleeding gums
  1. Can side effects of medications cause dry mouth?

The causes of dry mouth can be attributed to the following:

  • Certain medications
  • Aging
  • A blocked nose
  • Stress
  • Cancer therapy
  • Nerve damage
  • Other health conditions such as immune disease (Sjogren's syndrome) or HIV/AIDS.
  • Tobacco use
  • Drug abuse
  1. What types of foods and beverages should I avoid if I have dry mouth?

Avoid spicy foods and avoid excess coffee, tea, sodas and alcoholic drinks

  1. What’s causing my sore throat?

Sore throat may be caused by the following:

  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Smoking
  • Shouting
  • Allergies
  1. What can I do to make my throat feel better?

Ayurveda recommends the following:

  • Drink plenty of warm fluids, such as teas, soup, and water
  • Hot lemon and honey, honey and cidar vinegar, herbal teas, ginger juice or carrot and apple juice, elderberry juice, blackcurrent tea or juice are all effective during infection which also improve immunity and helps relieving sore throat
  • Daily supplements of teaspoon of cod liver oil, 100 mg vitamin C tablets every 2-3 hours or 2 garlic capsules every two hours can be given until the patient is well again
  • Give plenty of rest to your throat and try not to talk
  • Avoid day sleep since it may lead to Kapha build-up, leading to worsening according to Ayurveda
  • Avoid exposure to cold breeze, water etc.
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene
  • Gargle every few hours using a solution of quarter teaspoonful of common salt or yavakshaara dissolved in half a glass of warm water or decoction prepared from the bark of Acacia (Babul) tree
  1. Is triphala churna an effective remedy for the treatment of mouth ulcers?

Yes, as mouth ulcers are most commonly associated with constipation.  In case of such a situation, use of a mild laxative such as Triphala choorna is advised which will give some relief.

  1. Are there other steps I can take to prevent tooth cavities?

Ayurveda recommends few tips as follows:

  • Decrease intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Consume foods that are rich sources of calcium
  • Make a mixture of turmeric, salt and mustard oil to make a paste and rub it on teeth and gums
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums clean.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking since they may cause dental problems
  • Chewing on fresh herbal sticks in the morning as well as after every meal to prevent diseases. These herb sticks should be either ‘kashaya’ (astringent), ‘katu (acrid), or ‘tikta’ (bitter) in taste. The method of using these sticks is to crush one of its end, chew it, and eat it slowly. The neem (margosa or the Azadiraxhta indica), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak) etc. are some examples of herbal sticks
  • Use of an herbal tooth powder madeup from neem powder and salt

References

 Dental plaque
  1. Plaque and Your Teeth. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/plaque-and-your-teeth. Accessed on: 31 Aug. 16
  2. Telles S, Naveen K V, Balkrishna A. Use of Ayurveda in promoting dental health and preventing dental caries. Indian J Dent Res 2009; 20:246
  3. Dental Plaque. Available at: http://www.freemd.com/dental-plaque/overview.htm. Accessed on: 31 Aug. 16
  4. Ayurvedic Remedies and Treatment for Dental Plaque And Tartar. Available at: http://easyayurveda.com/2016/08/25/ayurvedic-remedies-and-treatment-dental-plaque-tartar/. Accessed on: 31 Aug. 16
  5. Abhinav Singhand Bharathi Purohit. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011 Apr-Jun; 2(2): 64–68. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health
  6. Sunita Amruthesh. Dentistry and Ayurveda - IV: Classification and management of common oral diseases Indian J Dent Res, 19(1), 2008.

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