I’ve written 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.
That fact alone deserves another post!
Oil pulling has now been part of my daily routine for nine months. I am 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 LM 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…
I 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.
Gum disease is the breakdown of the supporting tissues around your teeth, such as bone, ligaments and gums, caused by 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 tarter. 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.”
In other words:
“A well-made turtleneck sweater will keep you warm, cozy, and protected from the cold. Your gums do the same thing for your teeth.”
― Nadine Artemis, ‘Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums’
Gum (periodontal) disease can be broken down into a number of stages.
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 teeth and gums. It is reputed to have the added effect of whitening teeth naturally. In my last post, 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 teaspoons of a vegetable based 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.
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 the Autoimmune Protocol 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 because 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