Ever heard of oil pulling? I first heard of it a handful of years ago when I first started diving into the world of Real food, holistic healing and natural living. It is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that is basically swishing unrefined oil (I prefer coconut, but I’ve heard you can use sesame or other oils as well) around in your mouth a la mouthwash style for 5-20 minutes (ideally 20). It is pretty much a wonder cure all…or so the rumor goes. Hormone regulation, reducing toxins in the body, increased energy, healthier and stronger gums, whiter and remineralized teeth (cool!), reduced throat and sinus congestion, improved sleep, clearer skin, pain relief for TMJ-related jaw pain and headaches, and more are some of the health benefits that have been associated with oil pulling. Sadly, whenever I have started, I have lacked consistency. But I can tell you that my teeth felt so much cleaner and my gums felt healthier after doing it even the few times that I did. Now..flash forward to the end of October 2015 and…I have a…
Confession: My son has a dentist appointment in the morning. You know, the ol’ every-six-months-you-head-to-your-dentist-for-a-cleaning-and-a-check-up type appointment? Right. Uhm…so it made me stop to think of the last time that I made such an appointment like that for myself. Let’s see…*thinking* I had one when I was pregnant with Nolan. I had a couple when Nolan was really little. I may have had one when I was pregnant with the girls, but I am sorta thinking not. And that’s it. How old are my girls? Oh…*ahem* they are two and a half. Crap. It is possible that it has been over three years since my last trip to the dentist.
What!? I haven’t been to the dentist in three years! That is madness. It is no wonder why my gums have been super sensitive lately. I am an avid brusher and flosser, but there is just something about a deep cleaning of that pokey little metal scraper. The worst part of it all though is that now I’m cared to go. Ha. I have never feared going to the dentist because my teeth and gums have always been quite healthy. It was never painful. I rarely had a cavity. Easy peasy. But now…if I really get serious with the little plastic scraper at the end of my kids’ little flossers (because I really don’t want to risk losing a finger on a nightly basis as I keep their little gums and teeth healthy), my gums hurt…bleed even. NOOOOOOO!!!
So what is a busy momma to do? Obviously I need to get to the dentist, but first, I’m going to take a month (what is one more at this point, right?) and oil pull daily and see if it makes a difference in the comfort and health of my gums before heading to the doc to be reprimanded.
I have read that the ideal oil pulling situation is first thing in the morning as you sit with your feet on the ground and just sort of chill out. Ha. Right. THAT isn’t going to happen. My son is up by 6:15am pretty much every day and that is when I need to get up and start cooking breakfast and getting us ready for the day. As soon as I get out of bed, the girls follow soon after. I can see it now, three newly up for the day little people, bursting with energy, hungry for breakfast, running around like crazy people (by the way, how in the heck do they do that? don’t they know there is a vital slow-to-start wake-up process?) while I sit on the couch, with my feet on the ground, resting peacefully, in complete silence (as I have a mouthful of coconut oil and definitely can’t speak), swishing…for 20 minutes. Ha! I think they would combust!
So…I will do what mommas do. We improvise. We try our best to take care of ourselves here and there and in the in-betweens. This Monday that meant pulling on my drive to the market and as I sat finishing an email in the parking lot before spitting said oil into a mason jar to take home and dispose of later. On Tuesday that meant forgetting about this plan completely. Today that means…well…it means I should be doing it right now as I type, but I’m sitting outside my girls’ room on the floor in the dark hallway encouraging them over and again to lay down, relax, be quite, close their eyes and go to sleep, which again doesn’t work all that well with a mouthful of oil. So instead, today it means I will do it later, after I finish this, after I workout, after I shower (hmmmm…maybe while I shower? that is a relaxing environment…but not for 20 mintues…eh…anyway), when I’m hanging out, replying to messages, and at some point finishing three panda bear costumes for the Halloween carnival at school that happens in two nights. Yup. It isn’t perfect. But that is how life is. I try to fit my oxygen mask first when I can, but it is so much easier said than done, right?
Today is day three (and already one slacker day) of my thirty day self-challenge to oil pull daily and try to heal my mouth a bit prior to my next appointment. I’m excited to see if I feel some of the above mentioned healthy benefits of oil pulling over the next month. And then hopefully I’ll avoid the side-eyed look, shaking head, and waggling finger of the dentist when I get there. Ha! I’ll be sure to keep you posted as I go along. I’d love to have some company on this oily journey, if you are up for it! Comment and let me know. We can swish, spit, smile and share together. 🙂
Here are a couple of articles about it for more scientific information. 😉