Oil Pulling

By Joyce

When Delores, my utterly kind and professional dental hygienist, asks during my regular teeth cleaning appointments how often I’ve been flossing my teeth, I cannot lie. It’s not that I’m incapable of lying, it’s that Delores is my across-the-street neighbor so she is privy to seeing debris stuck between my teeth on a regular basis. She never shames me, but ever conscientious, she always, at every appointment, educates and reminds me to floss. To be totally honest, I’ve never been much of a flosser (except on the night before my teeth cleaning appointment) in spite of Delores’ very real concern about the inflammation under my 27th cusped and food trapping pockets between my back molars.

My teeth started getting the attention they deserved when my trusted friend and advisor on all things Ayurvedic, Maurine, gave me the scoop on oil pulling for oral care. I incorporated it into my morning routine after Delores gave me the thumbs up. She personally had tried it with sesame oil and liked it, and saw good results in her patients.

One of my favorite features of this method is that it is hands-free. On an empty stomach in the morning, I dissolve one teaspoon of solid coconut oil in my mouth and then just swish it through my teeth for 10 -20 minutes while cleaning up the kitchen. Grinding the coffee, swish, swish, swish; emptying the dishwasher, swish, swish, swish; sweeping the floor, swish, swish, swish. Sometimes I have to remind myself to swish, which is kinda amazing since my mouth is bulging from the ever-increasing volume of saliva mixed with oil. When that I’m done moment comes, I spit the pathogenic mixture into the trash, avoiding a solid mass of coconut oil from clogging up my pipes, then rinse and brush my teeth. Smooth and glossy, my choppers feel very clean.

High quality sesame, sunflower and olive oil can be used for oil pulling, however I prefer organic coconut oil. A known anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and inhibitor of Streptococcus bacteria, coconut oil is an inexpensive gentle warrior against gum disease and tooth decay. It acts as a cleanser and detoxifier and has the added benefit of whitening teeth. Systemic health issues related to inflammation like sinusitis, allergies, infections, arthritis, skin problems and pain can improve from oil pulling. Since our mouths house billions of bacteria, germs, parasites and toxins, I love the notion of pulling and expelling these potentially harmful buggers.

Desperately wanting my dental hygienist’s approval, I waited expectantly at my last dental cleaning appointment for Delores’ appraisal of my teeth and gums. At last, after taking a very close look, she gave me kudos: a total lack of plaque on my teeth and reduced inflammation on my 27th cusped. However, she reminded me that flossing is still beneficial for gum stimulation.

All right. All right.

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