The mouth can be a gateway to blessings and health or curses and death. On a physical level, the mouth is the entryway for most of what we ingest. In general, we are aware of what we eat and how it tastes. What we’re not so aware of are tiny organisms residing in our mouths as we wake up in the morning.
Microbes, Bacteria, Viruses, Germs
The average human has billions of mouth-living microbes multiplying every minute of the day. Some are good and some not so good. The good bacteria help us to digest our food the bad ones make us sick. It’s startling to find out how much of an impact these mouth inhabitants have on our health.
Weston a Price Research
Over 70 years ago Dr. Weston A Price conducted extensive research involving tooth bacteria. Over a period of 25 years he uncovered the fact that the bacteria in our mouth is responsible for a host of our ailments.
Dr. Price took extracted root canalled teeth from humans and implanted them under the skin of animals. According to WebMD: “Root canal procedures are performed when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected or the pulp becomes damaged. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.” By this definition, one would assume the root canalled tooth is sterile and free from bacteria. And, if there were bacteria they should be sealed within the tooth so they wouldn’t escape, right? Wrong assumption.
What Dr. Price found was the implanted animal developed the same ailments as the person the tooth was extracted from. For example, an animal with an implanted tooth extracted from a person with kidney disease developed kidney disease. The same happened with heart disease, joint problems, etc.
Dr. Price found the root canalled teeth were not bacteria free and thus led to the development of the conditions. Additionally, if a person had more than one root canal, each tooth had different strains of bacteria thus leading to a multiple ailments.
The Root Canal Question
The purpose of this article is not to debate whether or not root canals are beneficial. The intent of this article is to get you to become more aware of the connection between your mouth and your overall health.
In his study, Dr. Price discovered the culprit harboring the bacteria isn’t the pulp that’s removed along with the nerve in the root canal. The culprit is the dentin that surrounds the pulp (the orange material in the picture to the right).
The dentin has tiny tubules where the bacteria live. By removing the pulp, the bacteria hiding in the tubules have an obstruction-free pathway to come and go as they please. Removing the nerve and pulp may stop the pain, but it doesn’t solve the real problem.
Getting Back to the Mouth
We’ve established there are microbes in the mouth (consisting of bacteria, viruses and fungi). If you clicked on the multiplying daily link above, and read the article, you learned that if left alone, the microbe population will double every 4 or so hours thus leading to a staggering number of microbes in your mouth by the end of the day. Actually, they don’t all stay in your mouth. They get absorbed into your blood stream and you also swallow a large portion of them throughout the day.
The condition of your mouth has much to do with the condition of your body. A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body. So, it is in your best interest to have as healthy a mouth as possible.
Conventional wisdom has us brushing with fluorinated toothpaste, flossing and using anti-microbial mouthwash daily. Unfortunately, fluoride is unhealthy and using fluorinated toothpaste is unwise (just read the warning on the back of the label). Using mouthwash helps, but the quick rinse technique used by so many on-the-go people, isn’t long enough to make a serious dent in the bacteria population.
In addition to our oral hygiene routine, we need to dump the sugars and starches. Bacteria love carbohydrates. A carb heavy diet helps promote bacteria proliferation.
Reducing the Mouth Bacteria Population
Instead of running out to purchase the strongest mouth wash on the market, there’s an ancient practice that does much to reduce the daily proliferation of unwanted mouth inhabitants. That practice is called oil pulling.
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic ritual dating back thousands of years. Practiced regularly, oil pulling will significantly reduce the bacteria population of the mouth. By getting rid of the steady diet of harmful bacteria, the body begins to heal itself.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing a small amount of oil in the mouth for a period of 20 minutes or more. The bacterium leeches onto the oil and is spat out with the oil. After engaging in oil pulling, some people notice improved gums, tightening of loose teeth, skin improvement, diminished joint pain, reduction in migraines, reduction of periodontal pockets, positive dental reports and much more.
Here’s a quote from an Abstract on Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health from the US National Library of Medicine website, “Scientific validations of the Ayurveda dental health practices could justify their incorporation into modern dental care. Publicity of these techniques using appropriate media would benefit the general population by giving more confidence in the ancient practices, thus preventing tooth decay and loss.”
How to Oil Pull
You can oil pull using organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame, sunflower or safflower oil. Just make sure the oil is organic, unrefined and cold pressed.
Some instructions recommend a tablespoon of oil. However, if you have a strong gag reflex, start with a much smaller amount and gradually work your way up to 1 tablespoon.
Swish for 20 minutes and spit (never swallow). If you can’t last for the full 20 minutes, not a problem. Swish for 5 minutes, spit and start again. Repeat until you reach the 20-minute mark. Over time you’ll be able to swish for 20 minutes straight.
After oil pulling, rinse your mouth several times, then brush and floss your teeth.
It is recommended to oil pull first thing in the morning before having food or beverage or 3 or more hours after eating.
Chart your progress and observe the changes in your mouth and your health. Some changes you’ll notice right away and others take a bit longer.