A New Year, a New Tradition for Your Teeth


Now that all the names on your gift list have been crossed off for the year, it’s time to make your next list: all the fabulous things you want more (and less) of in the New Year. While I tend to make this list on my birthday instead, New Year’s Day is another time I like to check in with myself. It’s good to see how things are going and renew my commitments to things I’ve been slacking on.

As I reread my last birthday list, I knew I needed to shine a light on #23: Take better care of my teeth. My gums are happy to report that I’ve been flossing more than I used to, and my water flosser is now on the vanity top rather than in the hall closet. I’ve since done some more digging into oral health, and I came across a simple, beneficial technique that I’m going to try to make more of a regular habit—oil pulling.

Never heard of oil pulling? You aren’t alone. While it’s been around for thousands of years in other parts of the world, it’s pretty new to us westerners. The technique is simple: you choose the right kind of oil, swish it around in your mouth, spit it out, and brush your teeth. Yet these few easy steps lead to huge benefits:

  • Prevents gum disease like gingivitis
  • Helps clean your teeth
  • Freshens your breath
  • Whitens your teeth
  • Clears up your skin

Even though this is still an occasional habit, I’ve already noticed the perks. My gums feel healthier, and my mouth feels cleaner. Seriously, I can’t believe how awesome my teeth feel after that final step. I can’t help but slide my tongue around because it feels so great.

Making this a seven-day-a-week ritual isn’t very realistic right out of the gate, so I make sure to do it four days instead. That I can do, for sure. I’m looking forward to whiter teeth and clearer skin after I’ve been doing it for a while. Who knows, this might nudge me into making oil pulling a part of my daily routine.

Of course, there’s a whole lot more to healthy teeth than oil pulling. But with so much information about dental health in the SRP Historical Archives at my disposal, including Dr. Royal Lee’s The Systemic Causes of Dental Caries, I’m not going to have any trouble accomplishing #23. I’m giving my teeth what they need—and deserve—from here on out.

If you’ve tried oil pulling, what benefits did you experience?

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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4 thoughts on “A New Year, a New Tradition for Your Teeth

  1. Dentist who cares! says:

    Having worked with my wife now for the past ten years owning and operating our own dental clinic, I can tell you first hand that oil pulling is nothing more than an urban legend. It has been addressed by some of the most widely known dental research firms. Having witnessed several patients who have done this in our own practice, I can attest to you, it has not improved either
    patient’s gums or reduced their rate of decay.

    These following claims are all FALSE!
    Prevents gum disease like gingivitis
    Helps clean your teeth
    Freshens your breath
    Whitens your teeth
    Clears up your skin

    Nothing I have witness clinically first hand supports this theory, but if you want to waste your time, money, and gargle with pure fat…be my guest. Ask any dentist what they think about oil pulling, and most are going to be polite, but on the inside they are just laughing. Laughing because most people don’t want to listen or invest the time in the proven processes that prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Yet when a person has tooth decay diagnosed, the first thing everyone says is, “I don’t understand how this can be since I do everything you tell me to do doctor”!

    Let’s all have a moment of truth. When I was a young boy and then into early adulthood, when I was asked at my dental check-ups about my dental flossing and brushing habits, I would lie through my teeth and say, “sure I brush twice a day and floss every day”. How stupid and ignorant I feel after my years of education that my previous oral healthcare providers were as I said earlier, “laughing at me” all while full well knowing I was lying to their face! How many of us have been told throughout our life time that honesty is the best policy.

    The key to great results at your next dental check-up is as simple as this:

    1. Invest in a $3 dollar pack of woven floss and 1 minute of your time to mechanically floss your
    teeth. Your water flosser is better than nothing, but doesn’t even come close to the benefits of floss.

    2. Invest in a $4 toothbrush every 4 months and brush twice a day for at least 4 minutes.

    Follow these simple steps and I GUARENTEE you a better dental check-up. I have known my
    wife now for seventeen years. When we first met, she was a registered dental hygienist (RDH). Since then, she has went back to school and received her doctorate in dental surgery (DDS). Throughout these seventeen years, besides her regular six month recare visit, the only dental work she has had to have done was two restorations and one crown. Why? She practices what she preaches. Plain and simple. Start this New Year’s off with the resolution that you are not going to waste your time, energy, and finances on oil pulling. Your dental health, mouth, and taste buds will thank you for it!

  2. Paula Widish says:

    Well, I certainly do thank you for your sincere comment here, Dentist Who Cares.

    My own path to health, both maintaining & recovery, have led me to dabble in a few less mainstream philosophies and techniques. Some offered up surprising results, while others were duds. I would venture to say that this is true for most things in life. Some of the choices we make give us what we are looking for and others do not.

    The most beneficial knowledge that I have gained, by far, has been in relation to nutrition. When I changed the way I was eating every day, I saw (and felt) monumental shifts in both my physical and mental wellbeing. Keep in mind, I was not eating junk food continuously. I just had not figured out the foods that I had sensitivities to yet.

    Afterward, I almost felt foolish in not having thought about the power of what I chose to provide my body with, in terms of nutrients. The sad thing is, my doctor simply wanted to put me on anti-anxiety medication. Instinctively, I knew that wasn’t what my body was telling me it needed. So began my quest as a self-healther to inform myself of different perspectives and what made sense for my own situation.

    I am grateful to you for offering up your suggestions and will add them to my arsenal of health tips. Ya’ know, maybe it really just comes down to what we focus our attention on. When we make dental health a priority and give it the attention it deserves, we can make it happen.

    Speaking of your dental knowledge and my love of a nutritional focus, it would be great to hear what you share with your patients in regards to what their teeth & gums need, nutritionally, to stay healthy and strong. Also, do those nutritional needs change as a person enters different phases in life?

    Thank you, again, for your time and comments.

  3. SRP Managing Editor Jayme says:

    Posted on behalf of Maria Atwood:

    Hi Paula:

    I wanted to
    let you know that I have been doing and recommending oil pulling for
    many years to my clients. Additionally, I have read and know Dr. Bruce
    Fife N.D personally. He is as many of us know the world’s most learned
    author and promoter of the use of coconut oil, coconut water, and
    coconut milk. It was from his books that I first learned about oil
    pulling; however after reading the response from “The dentist who cares”
    I was first of all disappointed as the response he posted was opinion
    based only. It had no credible scientific references that would in any
    way make me rethink oil pulling. I therefore asked Dr. Fife to kindly
    give us some real proof that oil pulling is in fact as efficacious as
    his books and articles state. Below is his response to me. I am offering
    this information to confirm that your blog was in fact right on! If
    your readers and the “dentist who cares” would thoroughly read his book
    on oil pulling, and the articles his written on this subject, and which
    include scientific references, I think everyone will benefit. Keep up
    the great work. I personally love your blogs.

    Maria Atwood, CNHP

    Hi Maria,

    Go to http://coconutresearchcenter.org/news-briefs/ on my website for articles and recordings about the oil pulling.

    Here is and article I wrote http://coconutresearchcenter.org/articles-and-videos/coconut-information/oil-pulling-for-a-brighter-smile-and-better-health/.

    Go go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxl7mczf8DE for a nice TV produced video on oil pulling which includes testimonials
    from dentists and dental hygienists.

    You can give these links to people to help them learn the facts about oil pulling.



  4. Paula Widish says:

    You are always a wealth of information, Maria. Thank you for sharing such in-depth and useful information about the benefits of oil pulling. It has been my experience that it is worth trying new ideas to see how they work for you, as an individual. There just isn’t any such thing as a one-size-fits-all when it comes to health-related techniques (among other things) and being openminded in trying something as simple as swishing some oil in your mouth each morning certainly isn’t going to hurt anyone. Why not see if it can be of benefit, even if it simply whitens our teeth without any harsh chemicals. Right? :)

    Also, thank you so much for your kind words about Adventures of a Self-Healther and always being so supportive. Happy 2016 to You!!

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