Jaws 4: Swish, brush, massage and rinse (for great teeth)

A graphic photo of animal testing by an oral care brand prompted an impassioned plea on my part to my network. I have given up commercial toothpastes and toothbrushes for over a year now and make my own toothpowder. I find animal testing for toothpastes incomprehensible, yet it continues to exist as a standard practice for toothpaste manufacturers.
Srini and I have been primarily using a toothpowder that I formulated and which can be made at home. We have also experimented with two traditional Ayurvedic brands of toothpowders for oral care. In this experimental year we have found that our teeth feel stronger, we have no tooth aches and our breath feels distinctly fresher.
I got a staggering response to my impassioned plea– so many messages asking me to share my toothpowder formulation that I felt that it required a detailed blog post to provide the scientific context to the formulation.
Viva Voce
Until 5 years ago I was a fanatical brusher – I brushed atleast twice a day, used mouth wash and had even started flossing on the advice of my dentist. All this attention did no good to my teeth – my gums bled every time I flossed, I started developing cavities in my molar, and my dentist told me that the enamel of my teeth had actually begun to wear out. I had also started developing sensitivity in my teeth and was asked to switch to special toothpaste.
During this era of enthusiastic brushing, Srini and I were also part of an advanced martial arts class in our quest for better fitness. One of our classmates was Dr B, a senior dental surgeon from Nair Hospital, Mumbai. A chat with him after yet another visit to the dentist proved rather insightful.
After venting my dental frustration to Dr.B, he told me , rather casually, if I had considered that my teeth were getting worse because of and not inspite of all my brushing, rinsing, flossing ? He said that the combination of the strong toothpastes, frequent brushing and hard toothbrush bristles were probably wearing down my enamel, exposing the nerves of my teeth and making them more sensitive and prone to more cavities.
That day I asked myself ,”what is exactly the problem with brushing twice a day with regular toothpaste?” and 5 years later I am still unravelling the puzzle. I have relentlessly researched literature on all manner of natural dental care regimes. I have bought and brushed with Babool twigs (which were purportedly from Arabia), I have made my own mouthwashes and rinses, and have experimented with toothpastes that were fluoride-free, for sensitive teeth and toothpowders to arrive at a sound oral care framework to protect  my teeth and gums.
In the beginning there was plaque.
People who can summon the courage to visit their dentist regularly would have discussed plaque. The rest of us who rely on television to fill the gaps in our education have seen advertising calling it that “unsightly yellowish cement like substance” that forms on teeth. Toothpastes have graduated from merely promising fresh breath to a determined war to end plaque. They now have added the promise of sparkling white teeth with whitening and micro polishing variants.
Dentists disagree – they believe a quarterly cleanup is the only way to eliminate plaque. I have endured several bouts of rather painful plaque cleaning wishing I was elsewhere.
Plaque is also touted as the cause of tooth decay and alarming images of teeth crumbling add to people and dentists hating it even more.
But whether you use an anti-plaque toothpaste or meet your dentist religiously , plaque always returns. Why? Do we even need to eliminate plaque ?
What is plaque?
Plaque is a bio-film formed by communities of oral bacteria that try to attach themselves to the smooth surface i.e. enamel of teeth.
Oral microbiologists like Philip D Marsh, have hypothesised on the little known nature of dental plaque. Dental plaque is a bio-film, an aggregate of micro-organisms where the cells adhere to each other and any living or non-living surface like teeth (in the case of plaque), and other natural, industrial or hospital settings. These cells are embedded on a self-produced bio medium composed of DNA, polysaccharides and proteins.
This bio film is a matrix of polymers which are partly contributed by the host (the human being) and partly by the bacterial community.
This dental bio-film contributes to the normal development of the host’s defence mechanism and physiology.
To summarize, plaque by itself is a natural formation and not harmful. It is our response to plaque and other factors like what we eat ( explained below) that wrongly frames plaque as the villain of piece.
The “Whiteness” Epidemic
Plaque, in western or allopathic dentistry is seen as a contaminating substance and un-aesthetic, so cosmetic dentistry procedures like teeth bleaching and “whitening” exist to remove this “unsightly cement like growth” from the teeth.
Popular advertising furthers this notion encouraging people to find “white” teeth attractive – the modern toothpaste has also been designed on this principle. Half the contents of the modern toothpaste are abrasive particles used to dislodge plaque from the teeth and “micro polish” the enamel. Frequent brushing with this can itself lead to enamel wear and tear, causing increased sensitivity in teeth.
Watch what you eat
In a normal, healthy oral cavity, plaque forms in a stable and orderly fashion comprising of a diverse microbial composition – upto 25,000 different species of bacteria, which remains stable over time. When dental caries ( dentist speak for cavities) arise, it is found that the balanced bacterial community has shifted in favour of the acidogenic and acid tolerating bacterial species like mutans streptococci and lactobacilli.
This increase of acidogenic and acid tolerating bacteria in the oral cavity is linked to 2 eating habits:
1. Food that is hurriedly swallowed without chewing.
When food is eaten quickly without enough chewing, there is not enough saliva produced in the mouth. The composition of human saliva is a biochemical marvel that contains besides water, enzymes that are essential in starting the process of digestion of starches and fat. These enzymes, also more pertinently to this post, help break down food particles trapped within the crevices of the teeth, helping prevent tooth decay.
2. Increased eating of sweet, fatty, acidic and processed food
Increase in sweet, acidic and fatty food (read processed food, Maida, cola, biscuits, and mostly anything that you’ve bought in a supermarket) creates a highly acidic environment in the mouth, promoting the growth of only acid tolerating bacteria in the plaque film. Simply put, eating the wrong food makes the mouth toxic for all the “good bacteria” to survive and makes it a place where only acidic species survive.
Therefore the law of tooth decay can be summarized as:
Hurried eating + No Chewing + Wrong food = tooth decay
After a visit to the dentist, everyone usually comes back with a recommendation of the brand of toothpaste to use. Supermarket shelves are full of sparkly packaging with different flavours each promising different benefits. A closer look at the ingredients however, makes for some disturbing reading.
What’s in my synthetic toothpaste and why I need to look for a better option
Toothpastes are made up of abrasives (up to 50%), fluoride, surfactants or detergents and water (20 – 40%).
The abrasive elements in toothpaste are mostly mini particles of Aluminium hydroxide, calcium carbonate or silicas, zeolites  to help remove dental plaque.
The best description of caring for your teeth I have ever read advised that teeth should be gently and finely cleaned like cleaning a fine piece of muslin, and not scrubbed like dirty vessels.
So teeth should be cleaned using a fine paste or powder and should not contain the the high amount of abrasives as in most modern toothpastes. These abrasives remove the enamel layer of the teeth very quickly exposing the sensitive nerves underneath.
Apart from abrasives, surfactants or detergents are the next big part of toothpaste.
One of the most common ingredients that you will find in toothpaste is SLS – sodium Lauryl sulphate, or its cousin SLES (Sodium Laureth sulphate). Both of these are surfactants that are derived from coconut and palm oil, and are used across a variety of products like shampoos, face washes and toothpastes.
SLS is a cheap surfactant that foams and acts as a degreasing agent which is used in garages to remove grease from car engines. In the same way, it removes oil from skin leaving it dry. It also denatures skin protein thinning down the skin barrier, making way for the possible entry of other contaminants into the deeper layers of the skin.
SLS is especially worrying in toothpastes. The oral mucosa layer is much thinner than skin on your face or head – and has a rich network of blood vessels immediately behind the layer of mucosa. This is why sub lingual tablets are so effective – because of the thinness of the skin, and the dense blood vessels behind the skin, medicines get absorbed extremely quickly into the blood stream.
Therefore, using toothpaste that contains SLS, a known skin protein denaturer, and dryer is extremely worrying. Tests show a statistically significant correlation between mouth ulcers / canker sores when using a toothpaste containing SLS.
To make things worse, SLS, once it enters the bloodstream is an estrogen mimicker – which has many other health implications.
Brush aside the toothbrush
Apart from the worrying properties of toothpastes, the act of using them with a toothbrush is the last straw for those troubled with cavity prone or sensitive teeth.
The bristles of the toothbrush are not sensitive in themselves and depend upon the user to control the pressure of the bristles on the teeth and gums. Brushing the teeth is usually a mechanical action, when the brusher is barely awake and is mostly done in a hurry.
In this scenario, it is possible to brush fast and hard, treating the teeth like dirty vessels instead of a piece of fine muslin cloth.
Dentists are aware of this too – they usually recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles to reduce enamel wear and tear. But even this is not enough to arrest this wear and tear. A thinner enamel makes it easier for cavities to develop as well.
Toothbrushes are also an ecological nightmare to manufacture and dispose. The nylon bristles are almost impossible to re-use / recycle given their size and consumers are advised to replace their toothbrushes every 3 months leading to a huge pile of toothbrushes our landfills.
What does native medicine and Ayurveda advice?
The mouth and tongue are considered a gateway to diagnosis in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Vaidyars say that the state of the mouth reflects the state of the body and advise eating the right food in moderation along with taking good care of the mouth, teeth, gums. This is very close to the idea behind our law of tooth decay discussed earlier
The first change I made was to use my finger for brushing my teeth (as it was traditionally done) instead of a toothbrush. The benefits of this are many: The finger is softer on the teeth compared to a brush. The finger is also more mobile and sensitive and can navigate the whole mouth including difficult to reach places like the back of the molars.
Gums also need a massage as they hold the teeth together, and the finger is ideally suited to give the gums a massage as well.
After this, I added to the start of my oral care routine the practise of swishing with a tablespoon of cold-pressed, organic, sesame oil.  This routine has been prescribed in the Ayurvedic texts as not just helpful for removing the toxins accumulated in the body, but to also strengthen the vocal chords. Singers and Orators have been especially advised to gargle with sesame oil.
While it does add a step to oral care, swishing with sesame oil as soon as one wakes up does not feel as weird as it sounds. You would need just a heaped table spoon of oil to do this. Try and swirl the oil vigorously around your entire mouth, concentrating on areas that feel sore or tender . Continue to swish until you can feel the oil becoming less viscous and watery in your mouth and then spit it out . If you have swished properly and for the right time, the colour and texture of the oil changes after being in the mouth – it turns yellow, soapy and watery.
After this, I then proceed to “brush” my teeth with my index finger with a natural / Ayurvedic toothpowder. I pay attention to my gums and teeth, and after the whole exercise is done, I spend another 2 minutes massaging my gums with my thumb and index finger and finish up by rinsing in plain water after cleaning my tongue with a tongue scraper.
Scraping the tongue is again a very important part of oral care according to Ayurveda. The amount of deposition on the tongue gives you an idea of the toxins the body was able to trap – when you eat clean, whole food, you will have little to no deposition on the tongue. So the act of tongue scraping every morning is like a mini check – up / diagnosis.
You can make your own natural toothpowder with ingredients available in your kitchen with a little care and patience (a recipe is given below in a downloadable guide).
Do think about all of what I’ve written and try switching a little at a time to a more natural way of caring for your teeth and gums – I would love to hear from you about the positive impact this has had.
And Finally a better oral care substitute: An update
When this post was first published many years ago, I had included a toothpowder recipe which was made then with the bets of my knowledge. Since then, I have made many revisions to my original formulation based on my uopdated knowledge. I have also removed a few ingredients from the original recipe, as I believe they are not suitable for oral care.
We will be back with another post in teh enar future with an updated toothpowder recipe.
 

0 thoughts on “Jaws 4: Swish, brush, massage and rinse (for great teeth)

  1. finger brushing – no bad breath problems?

    1. None at all Annie – bad breath is related to unremoved food particles. If you follow the whole regimen (eating and chewing correctly, swishing with sesame oil, using the toothpowder, massaging the gums) you will have no issues of bad breath. I’ve also noticed that moving away from eating “soft” processed food and o whole grains and lots of raw vegetables helps with regulating the breath as well.

  2. Absolutely fantastic! As someone who has immense trouble with the teeth, and who is constantly worrried about discarding toothbrushes ever so often, I couldn’t be more thankful! Only one worry… I could not find the link to the recipe. :-/

    1. I noticed you now have, so yay again!

  3. Oh! I found it, it’s fantastic, am going to try and make it over the weekend itself! Yippee! I spent 6 weekends at the dentist since March, and I hope they are the last. 🙂

    1. Yay Shivani – I hope this works well for you! 6 visits 🙁 that must have sucked!

  4. Wow Preethi this is really insightful!!. Will try out the toothpowder recipe. I had tried experimenting with mindful eating, chewing each morsel carefully till it almost liquefied before swallowing. One thing which I noticed is that the teeth were much cleaner after the post-eating rinse. The saliva secreted while chewing carefully does act as a natural cleanser for the mouth.

    1. Amit: thanks!
      I agree on eating mindfully – the challenge I face is to do it in every situation. Apart from solving issues of dental care, Srini and I joke that this will take care of the food crisis – it is impossible to over eat when chewing mindfully.
      Thank you for dropping by!

  5. Hi Preethi,
    I landed on this post via fb. Thanks for the informative article.
    Will work towards altering my oral care hygiene per your recommendations. Which commercial ayurvedic products would you recommend?
    Thanks,
    -Sarika

    1. Hi Sarika,
      You could try the ayurvedic tooth powder of Kottakal Arya Vaida Sala or the one by K.P Namboodris. I am looking forward to Jammi Pharmaceuticals launching their toothpowder commercially – I have tried out their samples and they are a close second to what you can make at home – theirs should be ready in a month. You could write to them and ask for more details: https://www.facebook.com/JammiPharmaceuticals

      1. Hi Preethi,
        1. I found K.P Namboodris Tooth Paste containing SLS. So I am not sure if we can go with them.
        2. In the ingredients for tooth powder, I found that you had included Salt; I have heard about salt being abrasive removes the enamel of the teeth. I used to try salt + lemon which eroded my enamel that I left using them.
        3. Also heard about banana peel massage for teeth which contains Calcium and Potassium.
        Thanks!
        – Navin

        1. Navin: I was recommending Namboodri toothpowder not the paste for the same reason. I have recently started using vicco toothpowder and like it a lot. Salt is abrasive, but at the levels recommended it should gently clean and not remove the enamel. I find that the biggest enamel remover is the toothbrush – once that is out of the picture, the ingredients by themselves are not so bad. Someone else here had also mentioned banana peel – I should try i out.

      2. Hi Preethi,
        Thanks a lot for this informative article.
        Kottkkal Pharmacy says that they have: Dasanakanti Churnam Ayurvedic Tooth Powder – Cost: 10g – Rs.17, 50g – Rs.62. Is this the one which you have mentioned in your reply?
        Regards.

        1. I have read that this product may contain certain animal ingredients so I usually recommend Vicco toothpowder.

  6. Hi Preethi
    Beautiful post! I need to show my mom – she will love you for it!
    Can I edit/ shorten it and put it up on http://www.esvasa.com?
    Thnaks,
    Vandana

    1. Thank you Vandana 🙂 And of course you can!

  7. 100% True

    1. 🙂 thank you GV!

  8. u r truly inspiring Preethi ! absolutely true what u said and hope to follow at-least a few of them !
    BTW- last Sunday’s TOI article on u people (along with the other eco warriors) was a revelation ! Bravo

    1. Thank you So much Priya – I’m glad you found this article useful. Look forward to hearing from you once you’ve had a chance to try this out.

  9. Thank you so much Preethi for this research and recipe! I already made it and have been using it for a little more than a week now! Amazing results – less bad breath, reduction in oral sores, and my teeth definitely look whiter and feel more thankful I think! Will spread the word around for sure!

    1. This is SO amazing to hear Priya! Thank you for reading, trying this out and taking the time to give me your feedback!

  10. I am enthralled by the idea of brushing with nature but I remember one of my friends saying that these kind of toothpowders were meant for eating habits that did not involve junk food or processed food. He told since our eating habits have changed for the worse, the toothpowders(which were designed for old times) would not suit the present age.Given this scenario, he told that only toothpastes will be able to keep our teeth in better condition. Could tell me the extent of to which the above is true?

    1. Hi Subramaniam: Junk food does no good for our teeth, but it is incorrect to say that toothpastes can handle their cleaning better than toothpowders. Toothpastes (as would be evident from my post) and modern dentistry methods are harmful to teeth in the long run as is evident from the fact that once you go to a dentist you end up going repeatedly, and using toothpastes does not give you complete relief from most dental problems.
      I would also always ask you to believe empirical evidence and not what anyone (including us) say. Switch over to a natural toothpowder without any change in your diet, and try out the oral care routine I’ve suggested, and see if you can see any visible results in a month’s time. If it does work well (and I think it will), then do try slowly switching over to a more holistic way of living as well (including a good diet by cutting out junk / processed food).
      Do let me know how your experiments proceed.

      1. Thank you for your patient reply! I shall surely try it out. To tell you the truth about that friend, this is how it goes – I was sitting for internship interview for HUL(Hindustan Unilever Limited). At the end of the interview, the interviewer(who is the R & D Head) asked him if I have any questions.Being close to nature at heart, I asked him regarding this issue, i.e toothpaste being harmful than toothpaste and what I had commented previously was his reply.

        1. Like I had mentioned – try this out on yourself and see if it works. It is natural for all of us to have a bias towards ideas and products that fit in our world view.

  11. Excellent article, Preethi! While I’ve been told that the harder you brush with toothbrushes having equally hard bristles, the worse it will be for the teeth, I somehow couldn’t accept that; I sort-of concluded that a good hard dirty-vessel-cleaning-scrub (to quote your words) especially before bed at night is the best possible thing for the teeth. Doing away with toothbrushes is a paradigm shift, I can see. And eventually accepting that the index finger will do a better job is going to be even more difficult – but I’m going to try!
    Also, I notice in your reply to Sarika on April 26, Vicco tooth powder doesn’t get a mention. I’ve now been using Vicco toothpaste since turning vegan but you haven’t mentioned this company who are the only one to say it boldly on their toothpaste box cover that they don’t test their products on animals. I’m curious to know why!

    1. Mohan: Thank you! Finger brushing initially seems so old fashioned. Especially after being constantly conditioned to switch to a “better and more modern method” ! After being plagued with the many dental problems I discussed in the article, I am mercifully dentist and ache free these days.Of course, as a bonus, you could give yourself an extra pat on the back for being environmentally friendly everytime you use your finger to brush, given that toothbrushes are an environmental nightmare.
      Interesting point you bring up with Vicco – when Srini and I turned vegan we too switched to Vicco toothpaste. I was sad to find SLS in their toothpaste, which is incidentally not there in their export version. According to me SLS is both toxic and not vegan as every single chemical ingredient used in cosmetics have been at some point tested on animals. I did not try their toothpowder, though. I switched directly out of a brush+Vicco toothpaste to my own toothpowder. I have tried Kottakal Arya Vaidya sala’s toothpowder and Namboodri’s toothpowder, but as I had mentioned in the comments, I found my own toothpowder far superior to both of these.

      1. Hi Preethi,
        I can see that you are selling Krya Natural Detergent Powder. In today’s world it is difficult to make one’s own tooth powder easily. Please let me know if I can buy your tooth powder.
        Thanks!
        – Navin

        1. Navin: we do’t commercially make and sell our toothpowder yet – not sure if we ever will. Sorry!

  12. Preethi:
    When oil-pulling do you swish for a particular length of time? The websites on this recommend 15-20 minutes. Seems like a long time!!

    1. Radhika: Would recommend about 1 – 2 minutes: essentially until the oil starts feeling light and watery (and not oily).

  13. Hi Preethi,
    My husband was suffering from payorrhea. Bleeding gums.
    someone suggested me to make homemade ayurvedic powder. He and others hv benifited from its regular use.
    Take Alum, kapoor & salt in equal proportion.
    Put alum on flat tawa to heat. it will take LOOOOONG time. (nothing to add ) it will start heating, form bubbles, as if evaporating water from it . Lastly it will remain– white (snow white) looking substance, v light in weight.
    After it cools, grind it to fine powder. seieve it thru fine cloth.
    now all 3 above mentioned powders should be ground well, seieved thru cloth ( all 3 in equal proportion ) mix well.
    now take v small quantity ( 1 sp) add few drops of IRIMIRADI OIL ( avlbl at ayurvedic med. shops) and preserve it in small container.
    this will last for more than a week. take small portion on finger & rub well on teeth & gums as well for some time.
    another use === fill small bottle ( any empty syrup bottle ) with water & add this pwd to it.
    daily take 1 tbsp of this liquid for rinsing mouth — as mouthwash. take 1 tbspn of liquid in mouth, keep it for sometime, spreading that liquid from right to left, every corner, & then spit it out. this will help us for sensitive tooth.
    pl let me know, if u hv benifited with this tips.
    neeta

    1. Neeta: I no longer suffer from bleeding gums after I’ve switched to my new oral care routine. But I was very interested in reading your remedy – will try it out. thank you for taking the time to read the blog, and post such a useful toothpowder recipe.

  14. This is a great article, Preethi!
    I stumbled upon it (and this site) for the first time ever, and boy am I glad to have done so! This totally allays my fears of what might happen if I gave up my toothpaste.
    I have been brushing and flossing regularly for years now, and still get cavities. I do eat processed food, but not that much to cause those sneaky holes in my teeth that seem to pop out of nowhere at the rate they’re appearing. It looks like I’ve degraded my enamel way thin by ‘scrubbing’ my teeth ‘clean’.
    I now, for the past week, have switched to oil pulling, flossing and using Vicco tooth powder with my finger only.
    My question is, how is just using the finger sufficient to clean teeth, considering I also eat processed junk? Is is sufficient? Also, you know the stuff they say about toothbrushes being able to reach nearly between teeth and all? Isn’t a finger too big to reach the areas between two teeth properly?
    Also, Vicco toothpwder (and I imagine most tooth powders, though I could be wrong) are for healthy gums and not really for a teeth-cleaning purpose. For instance, even the Vicco site says that we must use their paste and powder together (sure, it seems like a marketing tactic, but then I’m not sure).
    I am unable to make tooth powder using your recipe as I am unable to source some of the ingredients, so I have to depend on Vicco (only brand I can get). Vicco doesn’t contain soapberry powder or anything that provides cleaning action. So, will just using Vicco toothpowder and no toothpaste be insufficient?
    Thanks so much.

  15. Hi Preethi,
    I remember when the dentist my dad visited told him that his enamel was wearing off because he was brushing so vigorously and regularly. Since then, I’ve had to consciously tone down my enthusiastic brushing.
    I can’t wait to give this a go! One question: where would I find soapberry, neem and amla powder in Madras?
    Thanks!

    1. Hey Shvetha,
      That’s good to hear – enthusiastic brushing can lead to very unenthusiastic teeth!
      You should get Neem and Amla powderin Amma Naana – for soapberry powder and if you don’t want to go to too many shops, try the Naattu Marundhu Kadais / Dabba Chetty shops on Kutchery Road. I prefer the one which is immediately after the Hatsun dairy shop run by Mr.Krishnan, which comes a few buildings after the post office.

  16. Krya is truly like a breath of fresh air!!!Will definitely try this and greatly commend the idea of trying to follow or bringing back the ” Reduce, recycle and reuse” in India.
    I would really appreciate if you give us the info on where to get these raw materials.
    Great work!!!!

    1. Thanks a ton Bindu! Lovely to hear from you.
      Do you live in Chennai? If yes, then most of the materials I mentioned are available in the “Nattu Marundu Kadais” on Kutchery Road. For the soapberry powder, I use the Krya detergent powder, and I try to source organically grown aromatics (clove, cinnamon, etc) in organic shops. For the salt, I buy the sea salt (kal uppu) available in grocery stores.
      Hope this helps!

  17. An article which comes at a time when I was contemplating replacing the tubes and bottles in my bathroom with something natural..
    Kudos to you guys for sharing.. I have been doing this ‘oil pulling’ for a while using refined oil..
    Can you tell me where I can procure cold pressed sesame oil? Is there any brand name. Gone are the days when we could take seeds to the ones who would extract it right in front of us.. any other alternative oil that can be used?
    Thanks.

    1. Hey Malvikaa,
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
      I personally use manually pressed organic oil – I would recommend the one from Timbaktu Organics, which I think should be available in Bangalore. I have alternatively done oil swishing with refined coconut oil and cold pressed coconut oil – it is an alternative to sesame oil, and works decently although sesame oil is the one recommended in Ayurveda.
      I have taken seeds myself and got fresh oil extracted too in Chennai – I suspect it would be available in Bangalore as well. maybe its worth doing some research on?

      1. Hi Preethi,
        Where can I get fresh oil extracted out of Sesame seeds in Chennai?
        Thanks!
        – Navin

  18. Hi Preethi
    Will try your tooth powder recipe. I have already shifted to Namboodri’s tooth paste giving up all those other commercial ones…is it still a bad option to use that tooth paste?
    thanks for your inputs, Jenny.

    1. Jenny,
      The Namboodri tooth paste contains SLS unfortunately. I would recommend you try their toothpowder instead.

  19. Hi Preethi,
    First- Thanks a lot for the great blog posts; sincerely appreciate it. Was trying to understand dental care and all the plaque/tartar stuff. About 4-5 weeks back I read your blog and stopped using toothbrush and toothpaste, and shifted to Vicco toothpowder (I’m a li’l lazy right now to make my own toothpowder 🙂 ). I didn’t know how to get rid of the plaque, so used a toothbrush once a week to remove it.
    Is it okay to leave plaque as such or do you know of any method to naturally get rid of them? I would then stop using brush/paste for good!
    Thanks again.

    1. Hi Ramakrishnan – thank you for reading the post in detail. I have covered plaque in the post. While I’m no dentist, I wonder if you are doing all that I spoke of – chewing food, eating a balanced whole food diet, etc. The plaque is really the end point ,if you will, of the whole system. I do not know whether you should remove existing plaque – Personally, I would try and change the way I eat and leave the plaque alone.

  20. Hello! Am i glad that i came across this article. Thank you so much. Had a couple of questions
    1. Your opinion on himalaya dental cream and their non-alcoholic mouthwash?
    2. I use an extra soft toothbrush. That is not good as well?
    3. I do have fillings as a part of horrible diet during my very short stay abroad. Came back, got roundly scolded by dentist who asked me if i could read/write. Changed my oral regime -never ever touched crapacola/soda – and touch wood ever since i haven’t even had cleaning to be done. That’s what a different dentist told when i had visited him, after 4 yrs, for cleaning. My question is – does oil pulling affect/ worst case ‘pull out’ the fillings? Really, wouldn’t want to make a trip to the chair.
    4. Is the massage of the gums also to be done w/ the powder?
    5. What is soap nut? Any idea where we get it in bangalore/bombay?
    6. Do you ‘sell’ this powder so that lazy oafs, like mme, can just buy it 😀 ?
    Thanks

    1. Hi,
      We haven’t tried Himalaya dental cream, so can’t really comment – Does it foam? If yes, I would not use it. I’ve found oil swishing to be the best mouthwash – and as it acts internally makes for a great daily detox.
      Would not recommend any toothbrush – finger brushing isn’t hard and if you follow the whole system I’ve outlined (oil swishing + brushing with your finger and a toothpowder) the mouth feels really really clean.
      Oil swishing is the same as using a mouthwash – shoudn’t pull out any fillings unless they are ready to come out.
      Yes, gum massage with the finger and the toothpowder. Soapnut / Soapberry is the powdered fruit of the pericarp of Sapindus trifoliatus / mukorossi – Quite easil available in Bangalore / Bombay.
      We don’t sell our tohpowder yet – we started Krya with the Krya detergent which is a completely soapberry based detergent powder. I’m still not sure if we will ever commercial make and sell toothpowder.

      1. It should be good..if you guys can think about making this powder into commercial product(powder + oil)..You have one guaranteed customer 🙂

        1. Thanks Raj! Still debating in internally though.

  21. I am completely agree with this post that swish,brush,massage and rinse is very impotant for teeth.and i like this post very much.

  22. Hi Preethi, I am slowly starting to get rid of all this petrochemical products from my life…and want to try this alternative on toothpaste..read the PDF.
    Just want to know how to make the Neem powder…i might be naive :(… do we have to dry the leaf and make it as a powder..or is there any other different process?

    1. Raj,
      You’re right – dry the leaf in the shade, and then powder this in a mixie.

  23. Hi Preethi,
    I was using the powder using the formulation you had provided. It is very good… But soon I found that using Coconut oil for oil pulling instead of Sesame oil worked well for me. I don’t use any powder. I just brush my teeth with forefinger without any powder or paste. Once a week I use sesame oil. And occasionally I use the powder. To tell you oil pulling with Ashtanga yoga has reduced my eye glass power by 1 point within a span of 4 months.
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Preethi,
      Found this even better. Used just oil pulling + twig of Indian banyan tree (aalamaram) as mentioned by Avvaiyar. This is the best I think!!!! I need to check on Karuvela madam also.

      1. Navin – this is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.And thank you for continuing the experimenting and research.

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