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Brighten Your Smile with Oil Pulling
By Bruce Fife, ND


Say “good-bye” to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, loose teeth, bleeding and receding gums and say “hello” to a bright white smile and healthy pink gums. How is this possible? With oil pulling! Never heard of it? Well, it’s about time you had.

Oil pulling is simple. You put a spoonful of vegetable oil into your mouth and swish it around for a period of 15 to 20 minutes. Coconut oil seems to work best. The oil is “worked” in the mouth by pushing, pulling, and sucking it through the teeth. As you work the oil, it sucks up bacteria, toxins, pus, and mucous. Don’t swallow it! Spit it out then rinse your mouth with water.

Oil pulling is best done first thing in the morning before eating breakfast. After eating, bush and floss your teeth as you normally do. Oil pulling can be done one to three times a day, on an empty stomach.

We have billions of bacteria living in our mouths. Many of which produce toxins as by-products that damage the teeth and irritate the gums, causing inflammation and bleeding. An overgrowth of bacteria leads to tooth decay and gum disease, and eventually tooth loss. Discolored teeth, plaque (bacteria colonies), tarter (calcified plaque), cavities, bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, and chronic bad breath are all signs of an overgrowth.

Despite regular brushing, flossing, and the use of antiseptic mouthwashes, tooth decay and gum disease are major health problems. According to a recent study in the British medical journal the Lancet, gum disease affects up to 90 percent of the population.

Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that by the time you reach the age of 65, your chances of having lost all of your teeth are one out of three! The odds that you will have lost at least half of your teeth by this age are somewhere around 50 percent.

Teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and they will if you take care of them. For most people, regular brushing and flossing isn’t enough. Oil pulling, however, offers you a way of protecting your teeth and gums so that they remain healthy for a lifetime.

Studies show that oil pulling at least once a day can significantly reduce dental plaque and gingivitis (i.e. gum disease). Antiseptic mouthwashes can reduce plaque by 23 percent and gingivitis by about 13 percent. Tooth brushing reduces plaque by 19 percent and gingivitis by 16 percent. Oil pulling beats them both. Oil pulling reduces plague by as much as 30 percent and gingivitis by an amazing 60 percent!

Oil pulling isn’t only good at preventing oral infections, but can actively fight them as well. The oil pulls the infection (bacteria, toxins, and pus) out of the tissues allowing the body to heal itself. Inflammation is quieted, gums stop bleeding, loose teeth tighten, and pain and sensitivity vanish. Teeth become whiter and gums become pinker and healthier looking.

Chronic bad breath is a sign that the mouth is overrun by potentially harmful bacteria. Brushing and antiseptic mouthwashes provide only temporary relief and often only mask the odor. Oil pulling puts a quick end to bad breath. For that reason alone, oil pulling is enormously useful. If you know someone who could benefit from having fresher breath, tell him or her how oil pulling can help. If you have to be around them frequently, you will be grateful you did.

For some people, the results from oil pulling are almost immediate. While for others, the battle lasts longer. The reason for this is not only due to the amount of bacteria in the mouth but to the type as well. Some people have a larger number of the more troublesome microbes, including virus and fungi. Our diet plays a very important role in determining the microbial populations growing in our mouths. Sugar, refined carbohydrates, and overly processed foods contribute to an imbalance in our oral flora.

The simple oil pulling procedure described here is a good start, but for optimal oral health you also need a good diet, one rich in whole foods. The details of the oil pulling process, along with dietary recommendations, aids for healing chronic infections, and a procedure for detoxing heavy metals for those who have amalgam (mercury) fillings or root canals, are outlined in the book Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing.

If you follow the suggestions as described above, when you reach the age of 65, or 75, or even 105 you will continue to enjoy eating the foods your love using all of the teeth you currently have. If you teach these principals to your children they will buck the trend in dental health and grow to adulthood retaining all their teeth, just as nature intended.



Bruce Fife, CN, ND is a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician. He is the author of 20 books including Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body through Oral Cleansing. He serves as the director of The Coconut Research Center,


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