Oil Pulling as Part of an Oral Hygiene Protocol

Oil Pulling Oral Hygiene
NOT my mouth!
The magic of Oil Pulling as part of your oral hygiene protocol

I’ve talked to you about oil pulling before. Back in September of 2014, I wrote about my Great Oil Pulling Experiment. At the time I had just tried oil pulling for a month.

Everything I said back then still stands. Only now, I feel even more strongly about the benefits of oil pulling.

Oil pulling has become part of my daily morning ritual.

When I first shared about the magic of oil pulling back in May 2015, it had been part of my daily routine for nine months. Now, five years later, I’m still religious about it. Every morning. Without fail. And, given it is almost impossible to talk with a mouth full of coconut oil in my mouth, I suspect David actually quite likes it – His early morning is peaceful!

But let’s back up the bus a little and start with the basics for the uninitiated…

suffer used to suffer from very bad gum disease.

If you don’t suffer from gum (periodontal) disease, all I can say is be extremely grateful. I would not wish it on my worst nightmare. Because it sucks. Big time.

Oil Pulling Oral Hygiene

Gum disease is the breakdown of the supporting tissues around your teeth – I’m talking bone, ligaments and gums – caused by the wrong sort of bacteria in your mouth.

Anyone can develop gum disease, but some people are more susceptible than others. There is a genetic component. You might say that I’ve hit the ‘gum disease lottery’.

According to my periodontist here in Sydney, Dr Luke Villata – 

“The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque. Bacterial plaque is a film that constantly forms on teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it will harden into a porous deposit called tartar. The toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque irritate the gums, destroying the supporting tissues around the teeth. The gums will recede from the gums creating pockets that then fill up with more plaque. As the gum disease progresses the pockets become deeper and the plaque moves further down the roots of the teeth damaging the supporting bone. If not treated the affected teeth become loose and eventually fall out.”

Gum (periodontal disease can be broken down into a number of stages:
Oil Pulling Oral Hygiene

It is diagnosed through a process that measures the depth of the ‘pocket’ around each of your teeth. Pockets that are greater than 3 millimetres in depth are considered bad news and generally require treatment.

At the time of my periodontal surgery, I was sitting somewhere between moderate and severe periodontitis. I had pockets ranging from 5 – 9 millimetres in depth. I was recovering from a severe gum infection. There was a very real risk that I would lose teeth. Frankly, I was scared.

Just over one year on, I have healthy gums.

I promise I am not exaggerating. At my most recent visit to the dentist (and hygienist), my deepest pocket was 4 millimetres. I have had bone regeneration. My gums are pink and healthy. I could be the poster child for healing gum disease. Really.

My hygienist could hardly believe her eyes. She believes such an impressive recovery – namely firm, pink gums – can be directly attributed to my daily oil pulling.

But, what exactly is oil pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy that uses natural oils to clean and detoxify your teeth and gums. It is reputed to have the added effect of whitening your teeth naturally. In my last post on the gnarly little subject of oil pulling as part of your oral hygiene protocol, I suggested that there is some evidence that oil pulling is beneficial in improving gums and removing harmful bacteria. I can confirm this absolutely is true for me.

The concept is really simple. You swish a couple of teaspoons of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes. You then spit it out and rinse thoroughly. Traditionally, back in India, oil pullers used virgin sesame oil. I use raw coconut oil because it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and enzymatic properties. Plus, the smell of sesame oil first thing in the morning just doesn’t do it for me.

Oil Pulling Oral Hygiene

For more comprehensive instructions, check out this post on my GREAT Oil Pulling Experiment

Of course, oil pulling is not all I do.

Over the past while I have implemented a number of changes to both my diet and lifestyle. Here’s a list of some of the things that I believe have directly improved my teeth:

  • increased my fat-soluble vitamin and mineral intake by eating a nutrient-dense diet (I have been following an Autoimmune Protocol way of life since February 2014)
    • removed processed food and packaged food
    • significantly reduced my sugar consumption
    • significantly reduced the amount of phytic acid-rich foods I consume. These are foods like grains, nuts, seeds and pulses. (The main reason phytic acid has become so much more of an issue is that we no longer prepare our food using ancestral processes like sprouting or sourdough fermentation which kills off the phytic acid.)
  • increased my vitamin D levels. Get outside every day!
  • replaced my commercial toothpaste and mouthwash with natural alternatives free of nasties
  • regularly visit my dentist and hygienist for check-ups and cleaning
It is possible to reverse gum disease. It just takes a little commitment!

Overhauling my personal primary ‘health team’ was integral to my health protocol. My doctor, naturopath and dentist all talk to each other. I attend the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre.

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*First published May 2015

Oil Pulling Oral Hygiene

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Comments (9)

Thank you, thank you for this post. I am also an oil-pulling enthusiast, but I admit I’ hadn’t really understood how it works before. Now I do~!

Way to make me feel good about my writing skills, Petra! 🙂 Thanks, Possum.

Joanna, I have been oil pulling but often wonder if it is doing anything as one of the good side effects should be whiter teeth… and mine haven’t changed. Perhaps I should give up coffee? Glad that underneath, my gums may be receiving some benefits. I’m not sure I am using raw coconut oil but will make sure I pick some up next time. Any tips on best coconut oil to buy, and why?? Thanks!!

Hello lovely Marina! How’s you?

To be honest, I haven’t had a noticeable whitening of my teeth, either. Just MUCH healthier gums. It’s only after a trip to the hygienist that I notice whiter teeth (and coffee is a biggie, for me also!)

Yes – raw coconut oil is the way to go. I use a cold pressed, organic one (I use Loving Earth) – so that I ensure I’m not replacing all my good work with other bad stuff.

Cold pressed and organic — got it!! Will buy some when I’m at the market. Hope all’s great with your new venture!

I have under half of my bone left, 2 (soon to be 3) teeth gone (and no, not back ones 🙁 ) and have paid out lots of money at the periodontist this past year. I have always taken really good care of my teeth, never had any filling or work done. My teeth are fantastic, my gums not so much. Very much a huge genetic factor with me. I have oil pulled a few times but will now try extra hard to incorporate it into my daily routine. Thankyou for posting this!

Rinna – my first words to my periodontist were “we are never going to be best friends”! The thought of having my mouth examined used to fill me with such dread.

Like you, my teeth are good. It used to be my gums, DEFINITELY not so much. I take after my Dad.

Now, they are SO much improved. I have experienced bone regeneration. The AIP diet makes a big difference because of it’s anti-inflammatory nature, but the daily oil pulling gets rid of the bad bacteria lurking in impossible to reach places. Give it a go for 3 months and see what happens.

I absolutely will Joanna! False teeth young run on my Dads side of the family, I am only a few years away from them if I don’t halt the deterioration. Nothing to lose…….teeth aside 😉 Lol

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