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OIL PULLING: a swishy situation!

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Want a healthier smile? Swish to impress!

Tired of your squishy, red, bleeding gums and stained, yellowing teeth? Try Oil Pulling in between your regular dental hygiene visits. Want to impress your dental hygienist? This just might get you the dental attention you crave (in addition to brushing, flossing and regular visits, of course)!


Start your day off with a SWISH!!! Oil pulling works best when you do it FIRST THING in the morning-BEFORE brushing, flossing, rinsing or taking supplements/medications.

Want a healthier SMILE?


Are you pulling my LEG?
Want a healthier SMILE?

What's all this about "oil pulling," anyway?


Like many healthy adjunctive therapies, oil pulling has its roots in Eastern Medicine. Born of Ayurvedic Medicine (the traditional medicine of India), this practice is reported to have begun as early as 300-500 BCE (long, long ago) and is referenced in Ayurveda's early texts.

How is this relevant today?

Today, as many of us are tired of having to sacrifice safety for efficacy, we find ourselves increasingly drawn to natural remedies, and for good reason. Far too often, the very products purported to help us end up harming us instead! Finding ourselves surrounded by difficult to pronounce chemicals, especially in our hygiene and skin care products, can leave us wondering if the treatment is worse than the cure!

Tell me more!

In all branches of medicine, PREVENTION is the KEY! I am happy to report that, with daily use, you can greatly improve the health of your oral cavity (your MOUTH) with first-thing-in-the-morning oil pulling!

Ready to start? How do I (oil) pull it off?

Oil pulling should be the FIRST thing you do in the morning after that morning stretch. It must be done BEFORE brushing, flossing, rinsing, drinking or taking any medicines/supplements. Remember that "sulcus"we discussed in earlier newsletters (the pouch-like area between the tooth and the gums)? We want that oil to hit those bad buggies inhabiting the region hard and do not disturb!

-Take between 1 tsp to 1tbs of oil (closer to the latter is best) in your mouth first thing in the morning, as explained above.

-Swish it around your mouth, sloshing it about so that it covers the tongue, coats the gums. squishes in between your teeth...keep moving it about for anywhere from (two) four- minute sessions to a single 15-20 minute swish (there are several styles and models to choose from-and something IS better than nothing, as it turns out). This is a great time, incidentally. to set up the morning coffee (if you drink it) or oatmeal (if you eat it). Feel free to shower, move about, get that laundry going, write in your gratitude journal, read your paper or do whatever it is you do (singing in the shower or complaining about those morning aches and pains excluded, as they require opening your mouth).

-Spit it ALL out! Do not swallow!

-Rinse with either salt water or water with baking soda to finish the task!

What type of oil is right for me?


Coconut oil is known for its whitening ability, reduction in bad breath and in reducing microbes, particularly Candida Albicans (which cause thrush) and Streptococcus Mutans (which, along with Lactobacilli, cause decay and "cavity-proneness"). That said,  sesame oil has been shown to be 45% more effective against S. Mutans. Alas, if your reason for oil pulling is to reduce your cavity-proneness, I would go with the sesame oil. Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and sunflower oil have also proven to be beneficial in plaque reduction. Sadly,no oil has been shown effective against Lactobacillus, a major player in tooth don't forget your other preventive measures such as brushing, flossing and avoiding sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods/drinks, especially when you can't brush or rinse them off.

How does it work?

To be honest, no one seems tp be quite sure of the ins and outs of this healing modality. Benefits are commonly attributed to the viscous nature of the oil and its subsequent ability to seep into the very base of the sulcus, effectively immobilizing the would-be-pathogens at least and "pulling them out" at best. One thing is for SURE--this stuff WORKS!

Another thing worth mentioning is the claims by many (supported by Ayurveda) that oil pulling improves one's overall health. I have not seen studies substantiating this (mostly because no one has studied this, at least on the Western front), but it does make sense that there could be systemic benefits, as coexistence between oral pathogens and systemic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and lung disease, along with overall inflammation, have long been established.

What are the benefits?


When used in addition to good oral hygiene habits, oil pulling has been shown to improve halitosis (stinky breath), whiten teeth and reduce the oral bacteria responsible for gingivitis and caries (cavities).

It compares favorably with chlorhexidine (considered the gold standard in the world of traditional periodontal treatment) when used as routine preventive maintenance; study groups performed equally well in both the oil pulling and chlorhexidine groups in their breat assessment tests from tongue coating samplings (that job stinks, but somebody's got to do it) as well as in the overall reduction of the pre-and post-value plaque and modified gingival index scores. This is GREAT news, since oil pulling whitens the teeth, while chlorhexidine is known for its unsightly staining!


Remember-gum disease is more easily treated when caught in its early phases. Microbiaal reduction in all studies I evaluaed involved a reduction in aerobid microorganisms, rather than the anaerobic microbes which overrun the deeper periodontal pockets found in advanced disease states.


In short, oil pulling isn't a magic potion to replace conventional brushing and flossing. When used as part of a comprehensive oral hygiene routine, it WILL offer noticeable improvement, literally changing the palette of your palate (or something like that-couldn't resist). Gums will be pinker, teeth whiter and your oral biobuden lighter-ALL GOOD THINGS!


And who knows? Put your cynicism aside and imagine with me-maybe the best is yet to come! We all know that science is ever evolving. Every day, there is something we used to think that we are told is no longer true, often supporting the ancient wisdom of cultures who have come before (particularly the wisdom of the East). I have come to know this: 

Just because we don't yet know it, doesn't mean it isn't true Take the challenge and enjoy BETTER HEALTH than you thought possible!

SO...See your dental hygienist, then give yourself the oil pulling challenge! 

Commit to at least a 45 day trial, preferablly more, in order to see substantial results. Many continue to incorporate this as a safe daily practice.



Live and be well!



Jani (your friendly neighborhood dental hygienist and board certified health coach)

Copyright © 2014 the live and be well coach, All rights reserved.

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