I became more conscious about the importance of oral health a couple of years ago when I was diagnosed with periodontal disease. I was devastated to learn that many of my dental pockets were extremely deep, and the official prognosis was that this condition was irreversible! After calming down from the shock, I started to search for studies and literature on alternative and natural ways to heal this obstinate, and apparently, epidemic oral disease. I was convinced that there must be a way to heal this condition or at least improve it. I was, in fact, able to reverse this condition and recover and that inspired this blog post, which is not about periodontal disease, but how Chinese medicine understands oral anatomy and dental health and to share some tips that are a part of my oral care.
HOLISTIC VIEW ON TEETH IN TCM
In Chinese medicine, the teeth in general are considered an 'extension of the bones' and are governed by the Kidneys and the gums are under the influence of the Stomach. So if you have dental issues, your first step is to see if your Kidneys (or Stomach, in case of gum issues) need support − with a licensed TCM practitioner.
There is a link that runs through meridians (which are like 'energy highways') between each tooth and a certain organ. This means two things. First: when one of your teeth has a disease or infection, it can disrupt or block the flow of energy (Qi) along the meridians and cause problems in another area of the body. Disrupted energy flow can also lead to emotional side effects like sadness, depression or anger. The second thing is that disruptions in a specific organ may manifest as weakness and sensitivity of the tooth that is in relationship with this organ. Moreover, intense or prolonged emotions can weaken our organs which can have a negative impact on dental health.
You can see from the picture how each one of your teeth is connected to one of your organs (via meridians). There are 12 main meridians in the body, and each tooth is related to an acupuncture meridian that in turn is related to various organs, tissues and glands in the body on this particular meridian.
Here are a few examples of meridians that connect to your teeth:
• Incisors and canine teeth are on meridians that connect to the Kidney, Liver, and Gallbladder.
• The meridians from bicuspids and molars connect to the Large intestine and Stomach.
These meridians link various organs, glands, muscles, and joints to your teeth:
• Pain in the upper and lower incisors can indicate kidney, bladder, and ear infections. They may also signal problems with the lymphatic system and reproductive organs.
• Molar pain can indicate anemia, stomach and intestinal ulcers, chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), hemorrhoids, bladder infections, breast health, rheumatism, and chronic inflammation of the pancreas.
• Wisdom teeth, on the other hand, connect to the central nervous system, Heart, Liver, and Intestines. They can also signal high blood pressure, eczema, headache, liver disease, pain in the extremities, and cardiovascular disease.
HOLISTIC TIPS FOR ORAL CARE
The most important thing with natural holistic care is that it doesn't just relieve or numb health problems, it heals them. Below are some of my favourite TCM and AYURVEDIC recommendations for oral care:
SPICES AND PLANTS:
- THYME & SAGE: excellent for preventing inflammation, heal injuries and stop bleeding,
- CLOVE: has powerful antiseptic (disinfectant), analgesic (pain-relieving) and antihistamine properties; 1 drop of clove essential oil on the affected tooth numbs the pain and heals inflammation,
- NUTMEG: by containing antimicrobial substances strongly inhibits the development of caries (add a pinch of nutmeg in your meal and it will trigger an antibacterial action in the mouth),
- CARDAMOM: chewing cardamom seeds after a meal helps against bad breath, it strengthens gums and neutralizes bacteria in mouth.
- Oil pulling – an effective way to whiten teeth, remove bacteria in the mouth and improve dental health
- MODERATE CHATTERING WITH THE TEETH in the morning and in the evening for 30-50 times will accelerate the flow of Qi and increase blood circulation of your gums and dental roots,
- MASSAGING THE GUMS AND LIPS also increases blood circulation of your gums and oral cavity and hence improves health and strength of your teeth,
- RINSING your MOUTH after every meal with salty water (salt is a flavour that pertains to Kidneys), and
- ACUPRESSURE for relieving TOOTH PAIN on the point Hegu/Large Intestine 4 (CAUTION: contraindicated during pregnancy!)
Be aware that everything in your body is connected and that your dental and oral health may influence your overall health, and vice versa. Hence, disciplined, natural and holistic oral care is crucial.
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Disclaimer: The information posted here is provided for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.