Thanks for joining me on Part3 of How Ayurveda has Changed my Life! In Part1 I talked about books that I highly recommend on the subject as well Diet and in Part2 I shared about my Yoga, Meditation and sleep routine.
Onto Oil Pulling…
Growing up I had perfect teeth, they were straight, white, with minimal cavities. Everyone used to always ask me if I had braces growing up. I’ve never been a fan of the Dentist (not sure who really is), and I would put off going for months at a time because of the anxiety and stress it would automatically give to me. Not to mention my lack of affordable health care during my 20’s and 30’s as a single parent. Fast forward to 8 years ago when I moved across the country to the desert. I had grown up on the East coast all of my life and the environment in the desert was an extremely harsh change. At that time I had also not been a huge fan of water, I know I know it’s our most basic need but I was hooked on sugary drinks and couldn’t stand the taste. I’ve come a long way TRUST ME! Maybe one day I’ll share that story if you’re interested. I’ve come to live by the amazing quote by Maya Angelou.
So moving on… The extreme temperatures were so harsh I still can’t stand summers here. About two years into my move I had noticed a few cavities and new mouth pain. I didn’t think too much of it and pretty much ignored it. Bad bad mistake! I’ll never forget the day for as long as I live. A friend and I took a bike ride out to a little town for lunch and I ordered a Ruben sandwich. I bit into the sandwich, and I felt something hard as I bit down. I ran to the bathroom and was devastated. My tooth had completely chipped in half and broke off. I was so embarrassed I ran outside and started crying. It was right in front where everyone could see it. I had to wait months before I could afford to see a Dentist who gave me a temporary cap. That was the beginning of my oral health that went straight down the drain. I couldn’t understand what was happening, all my life I had perfect teeth and all of a sudden my teeth were breaking off from eating a Reuben sandwich?? So I started doing my research. I knew there had to be a way to naturally cure cavities and prevent them. That’s when I started oil pulling. During my years in my Herbal training course, my school had recommended a list of must-read books. I immediately bought this book to start implementing these tips to save my teeth.
Oil pulling therapy can be done using oils like sunflower oil, coconut or sesame oil. The sesame plant (Sesamum indicum) of the Pedaliaceae family has been considered a gift of nature to mankind for its nutritional qualities and desirable health effects. Sesame oil is considered to be the queen of oil seed crops because of its beneficiary effects. I’ll admit it takes some getting used to but I really notice the difference when I do this religiously. Have you ever tried oil pulling? If you need some cold hard facts, here’s an interesting study I found on the benefits of oil pulling.
There were many factors in the demise of my tooth decay, nutrition and of course smoking doesn’t help. But one thing that never crossed my mind was dehydration. I knew this new environment had to have something to do with the sudden change in my oral health but it just never occurred to me to think of dehydration. Since dehydration is a lack of water in the body, and since saliva is comprised mostly of water, it follows that dehydration leads to dry mouth. A perpetually dry mouth can contribute to the formation of cavities. Studies have shown that saliva is important for oral health because of its antibacterial properties. Less saliva means more bacteria. BINGO! That was my breaking point to start forcing myself to drink more water. I’ve been living here in Nevada almost nine years now, and I never feel like I can drink ENOUGH water, to be honest. Some days are better than others where I get an adequate amount of water in my body. When its 117 degrees I am constantly parched. They say that you should drink a gallon of water a day living in the southwest, and I haven’t been able to accomplish that as of yet.
Another part of the Ayurvedic lifestyle that I found intriguing was Tongue scraping. When I say Ayurveda has changed my life, I mean it! This was a game changer for me. I mean I had seen the plastic tongue scrapers in the store but honestly thought it was just another gimmick to get you to spend more money. Not once did a Dentist recommend that I buy a tongue scraper so why would I? They
know best when it comes to Oral health right? Come to think of it, they never recommended anything other than flossing and fluoride treatments to me. Don’t even get me started on what I think about fluoride, I’ll save that for another day. So before I bought a tongue scraper, I wanted to do a little more research and make sure I was buying the “right” one. I went with a Stainless Steel option. You can check it out here. Some people opt for a Copper one, personally, I think either one would be beneficial. What I do not recommend is buying a plastic one, for one I think we all need to use less plastic in our lives. Two the more I learn about the toxic chemicals that leach from the plastics we use, the more cautious I have become.
This last tidbit of info I’m sharing with ya’ll isn’t linked to Ayurveda but was a game changer for my oral health. A few years ago, I decided to go see a Holistic Dentist. I wanted to feel comfortable and in a setting that aligned with my natural approach to my Oral health and well being. We talked about all of the supplements I had started taking and it was also nice not to be looked at like I was crazy when I mentioned Oil pulling. He suggested that I get a Waterpik to add to my routine. So I went home did some digging and found one that fit in my budget. (I bought this one) I’m a regular flosser, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much more food particles came out of my mouth when I used the Waterpik. My routine went like this: I would brush my teeth, Oil pull, then floss my teeth. After all of that, I would fill my Waterpik up with my spring water and rinse my mouth out. I’m telling you if you’ve never tried a Waterpik you don’t know what you’re missing!
I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried any of the Ayurveda tips I’ve mentioned? How has Ayurveda changed your life?