Note: These Ayurvedic techniques are recommended in addition to regular brushing and flossing as prescribed by your dentist.
Step 1: Prepare the Mouth with Tongue Scraping
When certain bacteria on the tongue and in the oral cavity break down, proteins in the mouth, volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), are released that result in bad breath. Studies have confirmed the benefits of tongue scraping as an effective way to reduce volatile sulfur compounds. In fact, to accomplish this, tongue scraping greatly outperforms tooth brushing. (2) Ayurveda suggests that, every morning, you start your day by scraping your tongue. New studies on this ancient technique called Jihwa Prakshalana have linked tongue scraping to profound changes in the mouth bacteria including:
- Reduces undesirable bacteria in the mouth that can compromise gum, teeth and oral health. (1)
- Reduces volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are by-products of mouth bacteria linked to bad breath. (2)
- Improves taste sensation and reduces tongue coating. (3)
- Changes the environment of the mouth to reduce putrefaction and decrease bacterial load. (3, 4)
Directions: With a relaxed tongue, using your U-shaped tongue scraper, gently reach to the back of the tongue and scrape the tongue from back to front. Repeat this 5-10 times, reaching as far back as comfortable, rinsing the scraper after each pass. A slight gag can help bring up some mucus and ama from the back of the throat. Follow tongue scraping with brushing (with non-fluoride toothpaste), flossing, and a large glass of water.
Step 2: Prime the Mouth with Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is the ancient, time-tested practice of swishing herbalized sesame and coconut oil to support healthy bacteria in the mouth. This simple technique has been shown to reduce S. mutans, support healthy gums and reduce plaque. (5-8) This is best performed after tongue scraping, brushing and flossing, and can be done while showering. Studies show that the swishing of these oils creates a saponification or detergent effect that deters bad bacteria and plague, while supporting healthy gum tissue as a barrier against bacterial exposure to the bloodstream. (5-8) In one amazing study, when coconut oil was partially digested by swishing in the mouth, it enhanced its antimicrobial effects. In other words, the act of swishing oil in the mouth actually boosts its ability to protect us from undesirable bacteria, like S. mutans, entering into the bloodstream. (9)
Directions: Take 1 tablespoon of Swish Oil Pulling Therapy (or LifeSpa Unrefined Coconut Oil) and swish or gargle in the mouth for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Repopulate & Maintain with Oral Probiotics
The mouth is loaded with microbes – some good and some not-so-good. In a healthy mouth, certain microbes play a critical role in upper respiratory health, breath smell, healthy gums and teeth, and the first immune response for the entire body. (10-13) Streptococcus salivarius is one of the most important and most abundant of good microbes found in a healthy mouth. The unique strain in Oral + Respiratory Defense is called Streptococcus salivarius DSM13084 (also known as ATCC BAA-1024). (14, 15) It has been shown to adhere to the cells of the oral cavity and populate there in significant numbers, where they support upper respiratory health. (16-18)
This oral cavity strain populates naturally, using the “power in numbers” method for boosting immunity. Such numbers have been shown to produce a significant amount of several bioactive peptides called salivaricin A and B, which also support oral health and immunity. (17-20) In one study, 13 subjects that were supplemented with Streptococcus salivarius DSM-13084 had a substantially lower level of VSCs than did the controls. (21) Streptococcus salivarius DSM-13084 balances the microflora of the mouth by competing with the sulfur-producing bacteria for space in the mouth. This leaves room for good, non-odorous bacteria to flourish. (21-23)
Directions: Take 1 tablet, chewed slowly and thoroughly, after completing oral hygiene routines (e.g., brushing, flossing, rinsing). Wait until the tablet is completely dissolved before swallowing.
18. Streptococcus salivarius K12 colonisation – dose response. BLIS Technologies Ltd. June 9, 2009. Data on file.