Add shine to your smiles!

Most grown-ups tend to stand in front of mirrors and, at times, worry over the yellowish appearance of their teeth. It may make them feel self-conscious of their appearance and hesitant to smile.

Ayurveda, the science of life, has solutions to this and help you get milky white teeth, putting the glow on your smiles. While some treatment methods give instant relief, others are preventive in nature and should be practiced on a daily basis.

The teeth, generally, is light yellow to grayish or bluish white in colour. Since enamel is semi-translucent, the colour of dentin and structures underneath enamel strongly affects the appearance of a tooth.

So what causes teeth discolouration? While Yellow tooth is not a serious medical condition, the same may be caused due to the following reasons:-

Poor Oral Hygiene -- Improper brushing, flossing or rinsing your mouth causes accumulation of plaque and tartars, thus making them yellow.

Getting Old -- Thick enamel looks white, but thin enamel allows dentin tones to show through, making teeth look yellowish from outside. As a person gets old his enamel gets thin making it appear yellow.

Fluorine content of water -- High fluoride levels of water can result in yellow blotching of teeth.

Smoking -- Tobacco products likes cigarettes and pipe smoke can stain teeth due to accumulation of tannin.

Dry mouth -- Saliva neutralizes acid and washes it away. But those who have dry mouth miss out this protective effect. People who breathe through their mouth, because of blocked nasal passages or other medical causes or even as a habit, have dry mouth. This decreases saliva and hence doesn’t neutralise the acidic pH in the mouth completely which puts them at risk of developing thin tooth enamel, thus making it look yellowish.

Constant intake of sour foods and drinks -- Sour foods, like sour candies, oranges, soda etc, decrease the pH of mouth thereby increasing demineralisation. This makes enamel thin and makes teeth appear yellow.

Medicines -- Some antibiotics, anti-histamines, drugs for high blood pressure and anti psychotic medications can cause yellow blotching of teeth of children younger than 8 years old.

Diseases -- Sometimes even chronic diseases can affect enamel and lead to yellow discoloration of teeth. Even chemotherapy or radiation therapy may discolour teeth. In these cases, the discoloration is more of a brownish colour.

Hereditary -- Yellow teeth can even be as a result of inheritance.

What are the Ayurvedic methods to remove yellow colour?

Brushing your teeth with herbal powders (DantaDhavana)

Ayurveda advises to use herbal drugs which are Kashaya(astringent), Katu (pungent) or Tikta (bitter) Rasa (taste) in nature. Drugs with these Rasa have the ability to scrap plaques (doshas) from the teeth.  They are anti-microbial in nature and hence prevent the accumulation of bacterial colonies in the teeth. These drugs will even remove the yellowish discoloration of teeth and make them appear glistening white. The herbal drugs which are specifically used are Arka, Nyagrodha, Arjuna, Khadira & Karanja.

ARKA -- The skin on the root helps in removing bacteria and cleans the plaque.

NYAGRODHA -- It restores back the colour

ARJUNA -- It helps in repair of the damaged tissue.

KHADIRA -- This drug is specifically beneficial for teeth (dantya) and anti-microbial activities (krimighna)

Apart from these, following drugs are also helpful in whitening the teeth

GHRIHADHOOMA -- It is the kitchen soot. It appears in abundance when firewood is burnt in kitchen for cooking.

YAVAKSHARA -- It is the alkali preparation from yava (barley). This helps in removing the plaques from teeth, thereby making it white.

LOHA BHASMA -- It is calcined iron which has a scarifying action to remove the doshas in teeth.

TRIKATU -- Trikatu is the combination of Shunti (Ginger), Pippali (Long Pepper), Kana (Black Pepper)

HONEY -- It is has a scarifying (vilekhana) action. It is heals the wound (vrana) and cleanses it. It has the capacity to enter even into the minute pores in the body (sookshma) and helps in clearing the pathways. It helps to maintain the colour or complexion (varnyam)

Ideal tooth powder to remove yellow discoloration

Combination of the powder of the following drugs is an ideal tooth powder to make teeth shine white.

Grihadhooma.............20 gms

Khadira.............15 gms

Asana coorna.............15 gms

Trikatucoorna.............10 gms

Arjunacoorna.............10 gms

Arkacoorna.............10 gms

Haridracoorna.............5 gms

Nimbacoorna.............5 gms

Yavakshara.............5 gms

Lohabhasma.............5gms

 

Nasya

Nasya is a very potent mode of treatment for teeth disorders. Nasya with anutaila (an ayurvedic pharmaceutical medicine) helps in decreasing the yellow colour of teeth. Two drops of anutaila (called as pratimarshanasya) instilled separately in both the nostrils helps to gain strength of enamel. Anutaila contains goat milk and sesame oil as its bases.

Eating black sesame seeds

Eating black sesame seeds daily is extremely helpful in preventing yellowish discolouration of teeth. Sesame seeds contain calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin B complex. Sesame provides strength (bala) to all the parts of teeth. Chew 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds daily and then drink cool water. This aqueous medium helps in easy remineralisation of the enamel and this strengthens, thus making it whiter.

 

What are the practices to maintain white teeth?

AVOID

Smoking

Drinking cold water

Caffeine containing food stuffs like coffee

Carbonated drinks like soda, fizzes or cokes.

Over eating sour fruits and vegetables

Use of baking soda to clean the teeth.(Baking soda has a corrosive action and it may provide a whitening effect temporarily, but its constant usage may decrease the strength of enamel, thereby making the teeth more yellow).

Use of Lemon and salt. (This combination is widely practiced to remove the yellowish discoloration of teeth. Both these are scarifying agents and remove the doshas from teeth. But many have reported of getting sensitive teeth on applying it. This is because of the acidic pH of the lemon. Secondly practicing this for a long time may fasten the degradation of enamel, thereby making it more yellow.)

PRACTICE

Finger brush your teeth and wash your mouth after having any food substance. This will reduce accumulation of food wastes on teeth surface.

Avoid snacks between meals. This allows your saliva to dilute acids in your mouth.

Drink water after eating or drinking any acidic food to prevent tooth erosion.

Eat an apple a day to keep teeth white.

Eat strawberries as they help in maintaining teeth white.

(The article is written by Dr Praveen Balakrishnan B.A.M.S., M.S. (Ayurveda), Assistant Professor, Department of Shalakya Tantra (Eye & ENT Section), Vishnu Ayurveda College, Shoranur.)

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