• By Swami Sivananda
  • March 2002

Care of Teeth       

Teeth are hard organs developed in connection with the mucous membrane of the mouth and implanted in the jawbones. They serve for biting and grinding the food as well as aiding in speech.

Each tooth is composed of four substances, viz., dentine, enamel, cement or crusta petrosa and pulp. Dentine or ivory makes up the greater part of each tooth both in the crown, where it is covered by a layer of enamel, and in the fang, where it is surrounded by cement. In the center of tooth it is hollowed out to lodge the pulp. The dentine is composed of animal matter and earthly matter, chiefly lime salts. Enamel is a brilliant white layer forming a sort of cap to the tooth. Cement or tooth-bone is a thin layer of bone covering the dentine in the fang. Pulp is one of the most important parts of the tooth. It contains the blood vessels and the nerve fibers derived from the fifth cranial nerve. It consists of connective tissues.

There are few different shapes of teeth, viz., incisors, canines, premolars or bicuspids and molars or grinders.

Each tooth possesses a crown, which projects into the cavity of the mouth, and a root or fang, which is embedded in a socket in the jawbone. At the point where crown and fang join there is a constriction known as the neck.

The teeth appear in a definite order and at definite periods. The order of the milk teeth is as follows:

Middle incisors  about 6th month
Lateral incisors  about 9th month
Canines             about 18th month
Second molars   about 24th month

As regards the permanent teeth, the first molars appear when the child is six years old, the incisors about seven and eight, the bicuspids about nine or ten, the canines about twelve, the second molars about thirteen, and the wisdom teeth frequently do not cut the gum till the age of twenty or twenty-five.

Constipation is the mother of many diseases the human flesh is heir to. Inactive or sluggish liver is the cause of constipation. The liver becomes inactive because of indigestion, improper function of the stomach being the cause. The function of the stomach is to digest food which is forwarded to it in crushed, ground from the mouth, wherein Providence has provided a mill of 16 stones each in the upper and the lower jaw. So, ultimately the cause of constipation, the mother of almost all troubles, is to be found in the teeth. Hence the desirability, rather necessity, of keeping this mil-the teeth-in perfect order. Therefore, mouth is essentially the gateway of health. By observing the following rules the teeth can be maintained in perfect order:

1. Never take too cold water or icy water after hot meals. If you do so, there will be congestion in throat and gum.
2. Never develop the habit of eating with one side of the jaw only. If you do not heed this, the other side will suffer in blood circulation and tartar will cover your teeth and thereafter, spongy gums will lead to pyorrhoea.
3. Avoid taking sloppy foods. Harder the food, the better for teeth and gums. Sloppy foods give no exercise to teeth. Every organ of the body needs exercise for maintenance of health: otherwise it degenerates and dies.
4. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after each meal, especially sweets, if they cling to the teeth, is converted into an acid, which makes holes into the teeth. Cleanse your teeth thoroughly after each meal preferably with salt water.

Toothache is a symptom of several affections of the teeth and neighboring parts. The commonest cause of toothache is caries or decay affecting one or more teeth, particularly when the cavity in a tooth exposes the pulp.

Gumboil consists of an inflammatory condition connected with the root of the tooth, which often proceeds to the formation of an abscess, is another cause of dull, throbbing pain.

The want of effective cleansing of the mouth, leading to the presence of acid secretion on the gums and between the teeth, which eats gradually into the enamel, is another cause of very annoying toothache.

An attack of toothache is started by exposure to cold, a hot drink, or some sweet or acid article of food.

Prevention of caries may be greatly assisted by constant care of the teeth. Cleanse the mouth and teeth properly with salt water. If food particles tend to collect between the teeth, remove them at once with a quill toothpick.

Do not use send or charcoal or tooth-sticks as they scratch the enamel and help to corrode it.

The gums recede and waste on account of irritation set up by tartar on the teeth. The teeth get loosened thereby. Get the tartar removed by a dentist.

Daily massage of the gums with the fingers improves the circulation of blood in the gums and their nutrition, Massage your gums with mustard oil mixed with a pinch of common table salt. Always massage and brush your teeth and gums either in a circular way or from gums towards teeth. Brushing horizontally harms. Finish by rinsing with common salt water.

Pyorrhea is a condition of suppuratin of the gum of the teeth in which large quantities of pus are produced round the teeth and are constantly swallowed with the food. Increasing ill-health results.

Tartar collects at the root of the teeth. This is composed of secretion from glands and food remnant left over. It helps the accumulation of germs. A dentist should remove it.

The food should not remain in contact with the teeth. If particles of food are allowed to remain in the teeth, the teeth and the gums get injured. The food particles rot there and produce fermentation, which attacks the gums and the enamels of the teeth. The gums get swollen. Pus forms there.

The enamel of the teeth is eaten away and the dentine is exposed. The teeth decay and dental caries occur.

Take some sour fruit at the end of a meal. The acid helps to keep the teeth clean. Cleanse the mouth several times with water and force the water through the teeth.

Chew a few neem leaves daily. This will cleanse the mouth and teeth and keep the mouth and teeth sweet and clean. Neem leaf is an antiseptic.

Personally speaking my mouth is a Dentist’s delight, if it had not been for my dentist brother I would have spend atleast Rs 20,000/ on my teeth. After he filled my cavities / capped some teeth I started using Ayurvedic products. Today I use Neem toothpaste after which I rub an Ayurvedic Gum Powder by Charak on teeth and gums. Believe me since then tooth aces are history.

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