My tooth obsession (and why oil pulling is so amazing)

I’ve got a bit of a tooth obsession.  Well it’s more than a bit, if I’m trying to describe someone, I always start with their teeth.  “You know them, their incisor on the left is longer than the right”  Or “Oh her, she’s got amazing teeth, I love the way there’s a gap and the 2nd tooth along is slightly crossed”  It’s the first thing I notice when I meet someone.   I’m not sure where it stems from, it could be that as a teenager I had numerous operations to bring teeth down from up by my nose (don’t worry, you couldn’t see them, it was internal).  And possibly the following 4 years of braces to straighten them up after the massive hole in the roof of my mouth healed.     Strangely I also love going to the dentist (my children have inherited this love, which the dentist seems quite overwhelmed by, I’m guessing patients doesn’t usually fight over who gets in the chair first) Regardless, teeth are everything to me.  

When I was sick with Chronic Fatigue I tried EVERYTHING to alleviate my headaches and constant sinus infections.  So when Oil Pulling was presented to me as a solution, with the side benefit of whitening my teeth, I felt as though it was a gift from god.   I also hurriedly put my husband onto it, as obviously his teeth are of the utmost importance to me, I mean I’m the one who has to look at him right?  He is now a zealot, and does it much more than me.  And to be honest it kind of irritates me when I look over at him swilling whilst I’m answering all of the morning questions or hurriedly trying to cram with the kids before one of their daily verb tests.  (But it is a small price to pay for the endorphin pop I get when I see his pearly whites.)  By the time I have the time to keep my gob shut for 20 minutes so I can pull, I’ve already ingested my morning smoothie and I've learnt the hard way that you can’t pull with food in your stomach unless you want to see it back up again within minutes. 

It’s usually one of the last things I introduce with clients, I think they’d think I’d cracked it if I pulled it out of bag of tricks at the first consultation.  But really I should.   It can seriously cure sinus infections, help clear up skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems, gum issues, sensitive teeth and it bloody makes your teeth whiter!!   

SO, what exactly is it? it’s an age-old Ayurvedic medicine that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums and draw toxins from the surrounding cells into the mouth, which then get spat out.   There's no scientific evidence it works, but it has worked for me, and for numerous clients, so I'm in.

Oil Pulling Instructions

-Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the mouth (start with 1 and build up to 2). The oil traditionally used in oil pulling is organic sesame oil, BUT we use sunflower oil) and this is also the oil that has been the most studied for use in oil pulling.  It is also possible to do oil pulling with organic coconut oil (which some people reckon makes your teeth whiter).

-Swish for 20 minutes. Apparently the timing is key, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy, as this is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time and it should be creamy-white when spit out. It will also double in volume during this time due to saliva. At first, it can be difficult to make it the full 20 minutes, especially if you have a nose full of snot and are having difficulty breathing. 

-Spit oil into the trash can or the toilet.  Don’t spit into the sink!  The oil thickens and clogs your sinks (we have experienced this!) 

-Do not swallow the oil as it is hopefully full of bacteria, toxins and pus (tasty) that are now not in the mouth and have been pulled from all around the mouth

-Rinse well with saltedwarm water. Warm water seems to clean the mouth better (my opinion). I swish a few times with warm water to get any remaining oil out of my mouth. Some sources recommend swishing with warm salt water.

- Floss (I always skip this bit but husband always does it and his teeth are blinding me currently)

-Brush well with a brush that isn’t your normal brush, there’s a lot of toxins coming out and you don’t want them sitting on your nighttime brush. 

So, if you are currently battling this nasty winter virus that seems to have nailed the entire resort of Verbier, get pulling.   And don't be surprised if I notice.  

Look what happened when Tom pulled for just over one month! 

Look what happened when Tom pulled for just over one month! 

Studies About Oil Pulling

S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry. 26(1):12-7, 2008 Mar

D Anand, C Pothiraj, RM Gopinath, et al. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria (PDF). African Journal of Microbiology Research, Vol 2:3 pp 63-66, MAR 2008. (PDF Link)

HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis. Journal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007; 1(1):Pages 12-18

S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models. Asia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug. (PDF)