Since it is the time of the year, when colds and viruses are starting to catch us easier than during the summer months, it's always good to think of different ways how can you protect yourself and your immune system. Since many of the germs (bacteria and viruses) enter our body through our mouth (apart from nose, eyes, breaks in the skin etc), it's a good place to start to see what you can do to make the environment in your mouth less favourable for the bacteria and virus to spread into rest of your body.
One of the morning rituals I have in my daily health practice, just after I wake up, is tongue scraping and oil pulling followed by brushing my teeth. If you didn't yet know what the tongue scraping and oil pulling are, continue reading.
In Chinese medicine tongue appearance plays an important role in determining person's health condition. A tongue covered for example with white coating is a warning sign of bad oral health and that there are other health issues present- whether temporary (like dehydration, as a result of some medications (antibiotics, steroids)) or more serious ones (like illness, infection, candida yeast infection etc). A healthy tongue should be pink in colour and have a rough texture.
For tongue scraping its best to use a tongue scraper made of copper. Stick your tongue all the way out of your mouth, place the tongue scraper at the back of your mouth and gently pull it forwards. Even though this health practice is called 'tongue scarping', do not scrape the tongue, but rather gently pull with the scraper along the surface of the tongue. You don't want to cause damage to your tongue. Aim to do this scraping action four to five times. Remove any coating from the top of the tongue and wash it all down the sink. If you are unable to scrape all of the white coating off your tongue after practicing this ritual for couple of days, it could be a sign of more serious health condition.
Oil pulling has been around for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine and it's one of the best ways to remove bacteria and fungus from your mouth. It helps you maintain your mouth's natural PH and flora, and also promoting gum and teeth health. The oil sucks the toxins and debris out of your mouth and creates a clean antiseptic oral environment.
Oil pulling may help with:
Moistening the lips, mouth, and throat
There are four main oils that are used for oil pulling- coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil and sunflower oiil. Coconut oil is highly absorbable, and it has also the power to kill candida. Sesame oil is known to strengthen your gums, teeth and jaw, as well as prevent bleeding gums and tooth decay. Make sure the oils you use are of the best quality (cold-pressed and extra-virgin). Store open sesame-oil bottle in the fridge as this oil can go more easily rancid.
Take a tablespoon of oil into your mouth and simply swish it around for 10-20 minutes while you go about your morning preparations for the day. Then spit the oil out in the trash bin as contaminated oil can clog your pipes.
Rinse your mouth with warm filtered water, with little bit of sea salt and apple cider vinegar to ensure all oil is out of your mouth.
Brush your teeth thoroughly to remove any bacteria left.
Hopefully you start to notice a different in your oral health and condition after practicing the above for some time.