Clean Your Mouth: It's Good For Your Health
You have a dirty mouth! No, I’m not referring to the explicit words you (by you, I mean me) use when in rush hour traffic and I’m definitely not referring to you literally having dirt in your mouth. What I am talking about is the millions of bacteria that are living in your mouth. Those bacteria cause plaque, which is straight up bad for your health. Scary fact: bad oral hygiene has been linked to heart disease. Hang tight and don’t panic! This doesn’t mean just because you forget to floss, that you have or will have heart disease, it does mean you need to find something you like that keeps your mouth in tip-top shape.
As a newbie to the world of Ayurveda, (Rooted in Indian culture, Ayurveda is a system of medicine all about finding balance within the body), I have been overwhelmed by the many tasks you should be completing on a daily basis to maintain a balanced life. Funnily enough, I find the number of balancing tasks, unbalancing! However, I have found that I can stick to a few routines. One of my favorites being my morning clean mouth ritual. Not only do I find it fun and relaxing but I actually look forward to it when I wake up, which helps me stop the excessive snooze button pressing. Here's my Ayurvedic morning routine:
I use Coconut oil for its pleasant taste and antibacterial properties. However, there are plenty of different oils to choose from. One of the other main contenders is Sesame Oil, a traditional oil for toil pulling.
Step 1: Make sure you walk straight to the oil, no water, no food, no nothing! Take one tablespoon of oil and place it in your mouth. IF you are using coconut oil, you may notice it’s in the solid form when you scoop it out, don’t worry it melts quickly once in your mouth. Coconut oil melts at about 75 degrees F.
Step 2: Once in your mouth, begin to swish and pull the oil through your teeth. Do this slowly. As a beginner, I was overly eager to get benefits and would tire my mouth and jaw muscles swishing vigorously. Not necessary at all, in fact it’s meant to be a calming, enjoyable time. Make sure to use a gentle pull/push method in between each tooth and all around your mouth. Swoosh and swish for about 18-20 minutes. No more than that or you are letting nasty germ filled oil fill your mouth! You can start by pulling for two to five minutes your first few times then build up to 18, day by day.
Step 3: Time to spit! Make sure to find a trash can or waste area. Do not spit down the sink/drain as oil tends to solidify and causing plumbing issues.
Step 4: You’ll want to rinse with warm water, preferably warm salt water, to help any inflammation and encourage healing of any areas that might be sensitive.
Did you know? That having a clean mouth protects you from the following: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, lung infections, kidney problems, infertility, preterm birth, erectile dysfunction and even cancer!
Now is a good time to floss your teeth and remove any loosened items that the oil pulling wasn’t able to hang onto. Also the warm water should have made your gums softer and not as susceptible to bleeding. You’ve done some good work to those pearly whites of yours and they will only get pearlier with each morning you repeat these steps.
Brush Your Teeth
Now, it’s time to brush-but before we do. Are you brushing with a good, all natural toothpaste? No? Well, I just happen to have a wonderful recipe that is very easy and kid friendly.
- About ½ cup organic, cold-pressed, refined -coconut oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda
- 2 small packets of stevia powder (optional)
- 15-20 drops of peppermint essential oil
1. Melt the coconut oil.
2. Mix in other ingredients and stir well. Using completely melted coconut oil, you will need to stir several times while the mixture cools to keep the baking soda incorporated.
3. Put mixture into small glass jar (tiny mason jars, old jam jars, or any small glass container works well).
4. Let cool completely.
5. To use, dip toothbrush in and scoop small amount onto bristles. I’ve found that old popsicle sticks or tongue depressors work really well for scooping it out.
Now, you’re ready to brush that gorgeous smile and start your day with a clean mouth.
Melody Hummel is based in Austin, Texas, but feels like the whole world is her home. She is a wellness enthusiast, registered yoga teacher, Ayurvedic newbie and global wanderer. Melody believes in seeing and appreciating all the little things in life, and that nobody should take themselves too seriously.
Read more about Melody.