Metrical Texts

Now we shall describe the rules of conduct to be daily observed by an intelligent man (after leaving his bed) seeking perfect health and a sound body. 2.


A man should leave his bed early in the morning and brush his teeth. The tooth-brush (Danta-Káshtha) should be made of a fresh twig of a tree or a plant grown on a commendable tract and it should be straight, not worm-eaten, devoid of any knot or at most with one knot only (on one side), and should be twelve fingers in length and like the small finger in girth. The potency and taste of the twig (tooth-brush) should be determined by or vary according to the season of the year and the preponderance of any particular Dosha in the physical temperament of its user. * The twig of a plant possessed of any of the four tastes as sweet, bitter, astringent and pungent should be alone collected and used. Nimba is the best of all the bitter trees; Khadira of the astringent ones; Madhuka of the sweet; and Karanja of the pungent ones. 3

* A man of a Kaphaja temperament should use a twig of a plant possessed of a pungent taste (Tikta) in brushing his teeth. A man of a Pittaja temperament should brush his teeth with a twig possessed of a Sweet taste (Madhura), while a man of a Vátika temperament (nervous) should use that with an astringent (Kasáya) taste. This rule should be observed even in respect of the preponderant Doshas of the body, in a disease.

The teeth should be daily cleansed with (a compound consisting of) honey, powdered Tri-katu, Tri-varga *, Tejovati, Saindhava and oil. Each tooth should be separately cleansed with the preceding cleansing paste applied on (the top of the twig bitten into the form of) a soft brush, and care should be taken not to hurt the gum anywise during the rubbing. This tends to cleanse and remove the bad smell (from the mouth) and the uncleanliness (of the teeth) as well as to subdue the Kapha (of the body). It cleanses the mouth and also produces a good relish for food and a cheerfulness of mind †. 4.

Cases Where Tooth-Brushing Is Forbidden

Tooth-brushing is forbidden to the persons suffering from affections of the teeth, lips, throat, palate, or tongue, or from stomatitis, cough, asthma, hiccough and vomiting, weakness, indigestion, epilepsy, head-disease, thirst, fatigue, alcoholism, facial paralysis, ear-ache, and to persons tired with overdrinking. 5.

* The term "Tri-varga" generally means Tri-katu, Tri-phaláand Tri-mada. Dallana explains it as meaning Tri-sugandhi, i.e., Tvak, Elá and Patra. - Ed.

† Additional Texts

It brings on a relish for food, imparts a cleanliness, lightness and sense of freedom to the teeth, tongue, lips and palate. It protects the mouth, throat, palate, lips and tongue from being affected by any disease. It arrests salivation, imparts an agreeable aroma to the mouth and relieves nausea and water brush. It strengthens the religious inclination and gives a lightness to the organs. Hence one should every day use the tooth-twig, but its use is prohibited in respect of persons suffering from diseases of the palate, lips or tongue as well as from Mukha-páka(stomatitis), dyspnoea, hiccough, parchedness of the mouth and nausea. The last two lines of the additional text, however, occur in the text in a slightly different form. See the next two lines of the text.

The use of a thin, smooth and flexible foil of gold, silver, or wood, ten fingers in length, is commended for the purpose of cleansing the tongue by scraping. It gives relief and removes the bad taste, foetor, swelling and numbness of the mouth. Sneha (oil) should be used as a gurgle (Gandusha) every day (after the cleansing of the teeth), as it makes them firm, and brings on a natural relish for food. 6-7.