Dentists/hygienists and I have a complicated relationship. At age 15 I got a root canal (most painful experience to date) which has since by other dentists been deemed unnecessary (aka my childhood dentist stole over a $1000 from my parents). Lately I get my teeth cleaned every 4 months rather than the normal 6 because “I need it”. Most embarrassingly, a dental hygienist made me cry in the office, berating me for the lack of care I put into my teeth and gums.
I avoided her thereafter.
But here’s the thing, I do take care of my teeth, and I do a lot more than average. But no matter how thorough I am I always get a condescending “you’re lying to me” look when I tell the hygienists I floss daily. No matter how well I take care of my teeth, I am doomed to professionals thinking I brush my teeth with coca cola.
I did a fair bit of reading first and remain a skeptic on claims that oil pulling freshens breath, whitens teeth, clears up cavities, and detoxifies the body. But I do believe, if nothing else, that oil pulling gets rid of food and grit from between and on your teeth. Cause here’s the thing, when you’re swishing any liquid in your mouth for 20 minutes every day, you’re creating friction for an extended period of time, and that’s bound to do something.
So, I increased my dental routine:
Morning: Swish 1 tablespoon coconut oil for 20 minutes. Spit out then floss, making sure to hug around the tooth and go up and down three times on each side. Eat breakfast then brush teeth with high fluoride toothpaste (purchased only at the dental office) using methods taught by previous hygienists. Do not rinse. No drinking or eating for 30 minutes.
Mid-day: Chew gum after meals if brushing isn’t available.
Evening: Floss teeth (using above method), brush teeth with sensitive teeth toothpaste, then swish high fluoride mouthwash (again from dental office) for one minute before spitting it out. Nothing in mouth for 30 minutes, except for my night guard to prevent me from grinding my teeth (oh yeah, I have that going on too).
I did this for 2 and a half months with the sole purpose to see if it made any difference at my dental cleaning yesterday.
I saw a new hygienist (I’ve had many) and her first words were “well at first glance it looks like you have very little plaque on your teeth”. 1 point for Tan.
She proceeded to scrape and clean my teeth (cautiously asking why I had a root canal). At this point I didn’t tell her about the oil pulling, just that I floss 2x a day and brush 2-3x. Get this, she seemed impressed. 2 points for Tan.
At the end she told me I only had hard plaque, no soft plaque, on my teeth. That, she said, is due to my good brushing and flossing habits. I was shocked – was I getting praise for my dental routine???
I then told her about oil pulling. She said while she can’t scientifically claim it does any good, that she thinks it makes sense it would remove debris and, so long as I like it, to keep doing it because it’s working for me – my teeth look great and no, I don’t need to come every 4 months, 6 months is just fine.
WIN FOR TAN AT THE DENTIST’S OFFICE!
Now I’ll be honest, I still have to go back next month for some dental work that they had their eye on (I couldn’t get away from the dentist office that easily). But, I had a positive experience at the dentist, and that’s huge!
I’m not saying it’s solely due to the oil pulling. Heck, it could be simply due to that extra floss in the morning. But I for one am going to stick with it, because it feels good. And hey, maybe my appointment 6 months from now will be just as positive.
and what’s your opinion of oil pulling?