Series — Weaving Ayurveda into your morning routine | Oral care
I’m bringing to you all a five part series, giving you step by step ideas of how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your morning routine. Whether you apply all five daily, pick and mix which ones you use or just apply them all once a month as a part of a self-care day, any inclusion of these practices at all will benefit your morning in some way.
From helping us become more present and aware of the seemingly mundane tasks we usually perform ‘just because’, to becoming more aware of our bodies and how to care for them, taking the time to properly prepare for the day ahead can make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.
Just as a note, none of these posts are sponsored - the products I mention are ones that I genuinely use and recommend, and I have no current affiliation with the brands.
First up in the series, oral care!
Ayurveda and oral care—
Something we can all (hopefully) relate to. The robotic task most of us perform with our eyes still closed, every morning before we start our day. Something we see as essential because we are all aware of the negatives of skipping this task, but also something we don’t all know the deeper benefits for our bodies and minds.
The whole process takes around half an hour, but 20 minutes of that can be done whilst showering, meditating, or getting your clothes ready - so to me, that doesn’t count! 10 minutes out of your normal routine isn’t too bad going, considering how you’ll feel afterwards.
Every night, your body goes through a natural detox process. While you sleep, it works like a furnace - burning any foods still in your system, and pushing out any toxins and other bad stuff we don’t need. This works through sweating, our morning toilet visits and also through our mouths. We all know that gross feeling of having a furry tongue and bad breath when you wake up, right? That’s because your mouth and tongue have been working to push out toxins from the day before. Amazing, I know.
Step 01— Rinsing with water
For this reason, you should avoid drinking fluids before cleaning your mouth. All that does is help to wash those toxins your body has worked so hard to flush out back into your system. Instead, the best option is to wake up and head straight to bathroom, rinsing your mouth out with water. This swishes away the loose bad stuff in your mouth, making way for the next process.
Step 02— Oil pulling
Oil pulling has become more popular in recent times, as people in the West are learning the real benefits it can have. Basically, swishing oil around your mouth for 5-20 minutes (the longer the better) before cleaning can help to pull out even more toxins through the tongue and teeth. Some people also claim that his can help whiten teeth - this isn’t a guaranteed effect, but common sense says it should help with light staining.
My favourite oil to use for this is coconut oil - you want something that isn’t going to taste awful if it’s going to be sat in your mouth for 20 minutes. I did use sold coconut oil at first, but to be honest those two minutes before it melted into a liquid had me gagging. I’ve now found the perfect solution for that - Georganics’ oil pulling mouthwash. They have a variety of cocktails available, some with charcoal and essential oils, but so far I’ve only used the original coconut. I highly recommend this as it’s super easy to use first thing in the morning, no fighting with your gag reflex to spit out the squishy lump of oil under your tongue, and a pleasant flavour too. (Also, no plastic packaging! Wahoo!)
Place about a tablespoon of the oil in your mouth, and swish around between your teeth for the desired time (I always set a timer on my phone so I know when I’m done). If you think taking 20 minutes out just to do this is a bit of a squeeze for you, then it’s such an easy thing to multitask. I sometimes shower while I swish, so it literally takes me no extra time at all.
When you’re done, spit into the toilet (as the oil could solidify when cool, and no one wants that blocking their drains) and swish your mouth out with water to get rid of what’s left.
Step 03— Tongue scraping
Tongue scraping is a really popular Ayurvedic technique that’s used by many people before brushing. Even if you don’t follow the previous steps, this is a great one to include as a quick cleanse before cleaning your teeth.
You can buy these all over, for not much money at all. There are lots of variations and all work, but I prefer the copper scrapers as I’m trying to cut back on my plastic use (plus copper is said to have its benefits when absorbed into the body in small doses). This one from Amazon is great, but there are hundreds more to choose from.
To properly clean your tongue, simply look in the mirror, stick your tongue out out and drag the scraper from back to front. Be careful not to go too far back as you don’t want to catch any of the taste buds at the back of your tongue, but this is easily avoided. As you scrape, you will see the residue coming off your tongue - which is probably pretty gross, but I find it super interesting. Even after all the cleansing processes before this one, you can see how much you can still extract from your body. Just rinse the tool in between each scrape, and complete a handful of times until there is little residue left. Rinse your mouth with water, and you’re good to move on to the next step.
Step 04— Brushing
We all know this part, and we all know why it’s important. The only thing we should think a little harder about is the contents of the toothpaste we’re using. I know I don’t want to start my day by filling my mouth with chemicals (especially when I’ve just spent time cleansing deeply) so I opt for a natural toothpaste. Again, Georganics have some amazing options and I choose to use their activated charcoal paste, as I like the extra detoxifying benefits of charcoal and its stain reducing properties. I also use a bamboo toothbrush (again, plastic-gate) and just brush as you normally would with any toothpaste. Sweet!
Step 05— Flossing
A great natural replacement for dental floss is Georganics’ bamboo fibre and essential oil floss. They come in a little refillable glass pot, so you’re doing your bit for the environment at the same time (and saving money when you buy your next refill!) Just use as you would any other floss. Another great option - especially for those with braces or retainers - is a water flosser. Again, completely natural (and can be combined with essential oils) and great for your pegs.
Step 06— Rinsing
Last but not least, we rinse and we’re ready to go. Again, I don’t fancy using chemical laden mouthwashes after all my conscious efforts, so I choose to make my own. Just using a cup of water, I add some essential oils (one drop it all it takes) and swish around my mouth for around 30 seconds, then spit. I choose to use DoTerra’s On Guard blend as it is a great cleanser, helps the body to naturally fight off bugs and smells awesome. It’s a really nice way to tailor how your breath smells for the rest of the day!
If you’re not into making your own mouthwashes, you can also buy some great natural ones like the mouthwash tablets from Georganics. Just dissolve in a cup of water and you’re set to swish.
So although this looks like a long process, it really isn’t when its put into practice. 10 minutes or so is all it takes alongside your morning routine, and I promise your mouth will feel unreal afterwards. The combination of really being present in the process and the great results you get really help us to get in tune with our mouths and the important part they play in our health. You can learn so much from the look of your tongue, the amount of toxicity you feel on particular days and the benefits this cleansing process can bring.
Whether you apply this daily or once a week, it’s a great routine to bring into your life - and I promise you’ll want to make the time to do it more often once you start!
Keep your eye out for the next in the series, which will be focusing on showering and how we can make this a mindful practice, while boosting the health benefits we can get from it.