Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pulling My Teeth

I  have the suckiest bathroom lighting
At some point last year, I said I was going to start oil pulling. What is oil pulling? It's a method of swishing oil around in your mouth each day in order to promote oral health. Here is a much better explanation. Oil pulling comes with many claims - it will cure every thing from Alzheimer's to Cancer to Masturbation to Zinc Deficiency. Or something. If you google it, you'll see oil pulling listed as a cure for nearly every disease and disorder you can think of. I, however, do not buy into most of it at this time. I do believe it can have a good effect on your oral health, which is why I'm giving it a go. I know that oral health can affect your overall body heart, especially your heart and kidneys.....I'm just not down with the claims that it cures 948459478574 ailments.

 I was drawn to the claims in regards to oral health. I have suffered from gum disease and shitty teeth since I was a child. There have only been a few occasions in my life where I have gone to the dentist and have been told I was free of cavities. A typical visit yields at least a few cavities. My gums are always unhappy. I hate smiling because my teeth are ugly. They have permanent discoloration thanks to both tetracycline and braces. I'm good about taking care of my teeth. I brush 2 to 3 times daily. I floss one to two times a day. My diet isn't total crap. I do drink coffee, but it's coffee or heart meds (seriously - it keeps me from bottoming out and passing out - ask my cardiologist). My teeth are so shitty that I currently have cavities, but my dentist (God, I miss my old dentist) told me she will not fill them unless I have some scary deep, deep cleaning first. My insurance will not cover that. Guess what else my insurance doesn't cover? Other dentists. I have poor people insurance and, while it's been a lifesaver, the dental coverage suuuuuuccccckkkss. So, I'm down for oil pulling if there is a chance it could help my teeth.

There are also many suggestions for how to do this. The length of time to do it, whether or not to brush your teeth afterwards, the type of oil to all varies. I'm choosing coconut oil. That is what I have and what doesn't gag me. The typical suggested time is 20 to 25 minutes. I use a teaspoon, not a tablespoon.

What do you do? You put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth, swish it around like mouthwash, making sure to push it through your teeth. Do this for 25 minutes. Now, coconut oil is solid when the ambient temperature is under 74 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a couple. Some people can take a spoonful of solid coconut oil into their mouth and let it sit there and melt. I tried that once, I gagged. It wasn't pretty. I need it in liquid form. In the cooler months, I melt it over the stove. Since I do this in the morning, I hold it over the stove when cooking eggs or bacon. It melts pretty quick. If you do this be sure to transfer it to a cooler spoon!! Do not be like me - I heated the coconut oil over the stove (P.S. - the first time my husband saw me doing this, he asked if I had started a heroin habit since that's sorta what it looks like) and then put that spoon directly into my mouth. Ouchmotherfuckthathurtssobad. Don't do it. When you're finished, spit it into a trashcan. Don't swallow. Don't spit it in the sink - it's no good for your pipes.

There's some question out there as to whether it is entirely safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women. I probably wouldn't do it while pregnant and I'm barely nursing anymore. There's also a bit of debate about using it when you have fillings in your mouth. The argument is the oil pulling will either damage fillings - I remain unconvinced here - or it'll leach toxins out of your fillings into your mouth and you'll fucking turn into mercury itself. I remain convinced on this point as well. Besides, my fillings are there in my mouth all day, everyday, with a direct access to my bloodstream (live teeth! gums!). I'm pretty much fucked as it is.

As I said, there is plenty to be found on oil pulling and this isn't really a how-to. I suck at how-to stuff. I'm writing this because I tried oil pulling at the beginning of last Summer. I didn't last very long because I ran low on coconut oil and being extremely poor, I just plain couldn't afford to buy some more. I needed to save what was left for cooking. Thankfully, a friend generously sent me some coconut oil last month and I can set some aside for skin health and oil pulling.

I'm going to do it every day for one month to see if there is any notable difference. My regimen is easy - 1 teaspoon of oil once a day in the morning. Swish for 25 minutes. Spit into the trash. Rinse and spit. Brush teeth. Smile.

I'll let you know the results in 30 days. :)

*Disclaimer - the above link for coconut oil leads you to my affiliate link to Mountain Rose Herbs. If that makes you uncomfortable, but you want to check out MRH, just head to
*P.S. I giggled every time I typed "oral." Because I'm immature.

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