That Spicy Curry May Be Better Than You Think - Indian Spices & Their Dental Use
Spices have been closely connected to magic, cultural traditions, preservation, medicine and embalming since early human history and have India is known for its wide variety of rich, earthy spices that lend immense flavour to dishes throughout the country.
Today's fast paced world has taken a toll on our overall health and dental health. The key to our health is our diet. Current research trends look at holistic nutrition as a way to not only feed our body, but to help it heal as well. Our own holistic culinary spices not only add aroma but also forms the base of all our dishes. In moderation, these spices can help us derive maximum health benefits.
These world renowned exotic spices grown in India have so many dental health benefits :
Black Pepper - The King of Spices when mixed with salt in equal quantities, can relieve dental pain and reduce gum inflammation (swelling) when massaged over the gums. Black pepper has anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial properties, in addition to soothing analgesic (pain relieving) effect. It is known to cure inflammation or infection of the gums.
Cardamom - The Queen of Spices has antiseptic and anti-microbial properties and is a good source of Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. The Vitamin C helps relieve bleeding gums while Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium help promote the health of teeth and bones. Chewing Cardamom pods helps increase the salivary flow, prevents bad breath and works as a carrier of vital minerals to remineralize teeth. Cardamom also has antispasmodic (relieves muscle spasm) action that helps relieve Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (joint in the jaw).
Cinnamon - Cinnamon has antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and mild anaesthetic properties and is one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants. Rinsing your mouth with diluted cinnamon oil after you brush your teeth or using a toothpaste that includes cinnamon essential oil can kill harmful bacteria and prevent cavities.
Clove - Cloves are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Eugenol, a component of clove, is an integral part of the dentist's kit due to its analgesic, local anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. It is used in the form of a paste or mixture as dental cement, filler, and restorative material. Clove oil is an old remedy for tooth problems that is still used as an anaesthetic by dentists.
Ginger - Ginger contains both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Application of ginger oil to the inflamed area around the tooth can reduce swelling and pain.
Nutmeg - Nutmeg is often used as an ingredient in toothpastes. Active antibacterial components present in nutmeg help fight certain conditions like Halitosis (bad breath).
Tamarind - Tamarind contains tartaric acid, malic acid and potassium that help promote the health of the digestive system. Tamarind seeds cure most teeth related problems and also clean nicotine stains on the teeth. The active components of Tamarind such as Albuminoid and Tannin, inhibit bacterial activity and reduce the calculus (tartar) hardness. The anti-inflammatory and nutritional properties of Tamarind help cure joint pain. The consumption of 10gms of boiled Tamarind a day can help prevent skeletal fluorosis (a painful bone disease caused by excess fluoride) and dental fluorosis.
Turmeric - Turmeric has analgesic (pain relieving), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic and antispasmodic (relieves muscle spasms) properties. The active constituent of Turmeric is Curcumin. Due to its varied medicinal properties, Turmeric / Curcumin helps relieve many dental conditions such as pulpal pain, periodontal problems and precancerous lesions, along with certain conditions like Leukoplakia and Oral Submucous Fibrosis.
So while the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates famously cited, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food," practice this with caution. Despite the plethora of medicinal home remedies at our disposal today, they by no means replace a Doctor. I cannot stress enough the need to see your dentist every 6 months for dental cleanups and sooner if you experience a dental problem.