By Jessica Yoches, CNTP, on July 9, 2014
At the Healing Center, we commonly see pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold underlying and accompanying many health issues for patients. We have multiple tools for eliminating these pathogens including herbs, clearings, frequency treatments, and detoxification. Another method of eliminating and managing pathogens is through proper oral care.
By now, you may have heard of the term “oil pulling,” as articles extolling its benefits are blowing up social media feeds, making it a hot topic recently. Oil pulling is nothing new: this method was used for 1,000’s of years as part of ancient Indian Ayurveda remedies for managing oral health. Oral care was recognized as a critical component of overall health. Traditionally, cold-pressed sesame oil was used, but coconut oil is more commonly used today. Oil pulling has many benefits, including:
- Assists in the reduction and prevention of plaque, cavities, pathogens, gingivitis, and infections.
- Helps strengthen the jaw, tissue, teeth, and gums.
- Prevents throat dryness, cracked lips, and bad breath.
Oil pulling provides a natural remedy for oral maintenance and for reducing pathogens, and is claimed to contribute in the elimination of over 30 systemic diseases.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is swishing up to one Tablespoon of oil in your mouth. Using the tongue to help pull and push the oil between the teeth and gums, take caution to not swallow or gargle the oil. As you swish the oil in your mouth, the fatty acids neutralize and begin to pull out toxins, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens from your mouth.
20 minutes is the minimal therapeutic time to swish, but 30-45 minutes is recommended for even further pathogen pulling. When done, spit oil into trash, and rinse out mouth with water or water and baking soda. It’s extremely important to prevent swallowing the oil as its full of toxins just extracted from the mouth.
The best time to oil pull is first thing in the morning before breakfast, but anytime will work; oil pulling can be done twice daily.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Oil Pulling
While sesame oil was the oil used traditionally, coconut oil packs more power in its punch with its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial activity that destroys microbes, viruses, and bacteria. Plus coconut oil tastes much better! The high fatty lauric acid content of coconut oil makes it an inhibitor of pathogenic organisms; enzymes in the mouth convert coconut oil’s fat into acids, which are toxic to bacteria. Coconut oil has a lower content of Omega-6 fatty acids than does sesame oil, with a higher amount of Omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for preventing both inflammation and gum disease. Additionally, coconut oil fights Candida albicans yeast, unlike sesame oil. Oil pulling with coconut oil prevents the spread of pathogens into the bloodstream, lessening the overall toxic burden placed on the immune system.
Pathogens: From the Mouth to the Gut and Beyond
Disease begins in the gut, and one way is from pathogens that travel there by way of the mouth. Bacteria pass from the gums into the bloodstream, where they can access the whole body. The most common bacteria’s in the mouth are Candida and the Streptococcus bacteria’s; these bacteria and their waste products contribute to plaque build up and tooth decay. When they travel from the mouth to the rest of the body, they cause secondary infection and inflammation. For example, bacteria can travel to the heart and lead to endocarditis, or infection of the inner lining of the heart.
Pathogens such as bacteria and viruses are also being linked to cancer, such as colorectal and HPV induced cancers. Good oral hygiene prevents the spread of HPV; poor oral health is linked to a 56% higher rate of HPV. A recent study attributes 80% of all oropharyngeal cancers to HPV. The journal of Cancer Prevention Research reports: “Poor oral health, which includes dental problems and gum disease, is an independent risk factor for oral HPV infection, and by extension, could also contribute to oral cancers.”
For bacteria, studies show how the oral bacterium Fusarium nucleatum contributes to colorectal cancer. This bacterium is not usually present in the gut, but if oral health is lacking from insufficient micro flora, F. nucleatum can proliferate and colonize the gut. The micro flora of the mouth mirrors that of the gut, so improving one will help the other.
Oil Pulling as Part of Natural Oral Care
Oil pulling is only one part of natural oral care and should be combined with other remedies for full oral health. These include brushing, flossing, and diet.
For brushing teeth, use non-fluoridated toothpastes, or make your own using coconut oil and baking soda. Inflammation is at the root of many common health problems, but it starts in the mouth via the diet. Avoid eating sugars and processed foods which cause bacteria to proliferate in the mouth, and avoid eating foods contributing to inflammation such as fructose; grains; oxidized cholesterol; Trans fats; and foods cooked at high temperatures.
Consume foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids to prevent inflammation and gum disease, and eat fermented vegetables that help establish healthy mouth and gut flora. Remember, what happens in the mouth, happens in the gut. By eliminating microorganisms in the mouth, those pathogens are unable to spread disease systemically, reducing the toxic load for the immune system.
What are you waiting for? Go buy some coconut oil and get started today. Happy Oil-Pulling!