The magic of Oil Pulling as part of your oral hygiene protocol
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…
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. Because it sucks. Big time.
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:
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.
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!
*First published May 2015