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Oils used as healthy mouthwash

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POLSON — Imagine taking a scoop of a common cooking ingredient and plopping it into your mouth for better oral hygiene and overall health. That’s what many people are finding when they swish coconut or sesame oil in their mouths for 15-20 minutes on a daily basis, according to Naturopathic Physician Katie Carter.

“They have actually done a lot of studies about how a person’s mouth is a reflection of how healthy the rest of their body is,” Carter said.“Along with that, the gut is a place that should maintain health.”

This is important because some bacteria are responsible for causing dental decay, gum disease, tooth loss and oral diseases. Since the body is one complete system, inflammation in the mouth can cause inflammation in the entire body and lead to other serious ailments.

When a patient visits Carter with an oral problem, she focuses on getting to the cause and root of a problem rather than masking it. Not only does she want to cure the issue, Carter wants to do that in a safe and chemical-free way.

“There is a lot of healthy bacteria in our mouth that we need,” Carter said. “Using mouth washes with chlorhexidine can kill those good bacteria, (so) oil pulling is a healthier option.”

According to an article from the National Library of Medicine, much of what happens in the body is ionic, which mean there is a negative and positive pull from certain atoms. This ionic interaction takes place in the mouth as well. For example, teeth have a negative charge and are bonded by healthy proteins that have a positive charge. But bacteria has a negative charge and build-up on top of the healthy proteins, causing plaque. The introduction of oil, which is negatively charged, creates a bond with the bacterial build-up. After oil pulling, the bacteria and oil eventually dissolves together.

Health and Beauty Manager at Mission Mountain Natural Foods Gena Simkins has been oil pulling for three years. She started the process because it sounded interesting to her and some friends.

“I do 20 minutes of swishing in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening,” Simkins said. Simkins believes oil pulling has benefited her life in many ways.

“I used to have chronic tooth pain and sensitivity to hot and cold … that is gone,” Simkins said. “I feel like so many things have improved … my skin is really nice because oil pulling cleans the lymph. I feel like it has been a great routine for me.”

Not only has Simkins benefited physically from oil pulling, she also has mentally.

“I swish for 20 minutes at a time,” Simkins said. “During that 20 minutes I don’t have to talk … I can meditate or really focus on getting a chore done.” Simkins still brushes her teeth twice a day, but said oil pulling is that extra push for a healthier lifestyle.

Although coconut oil may offer health benefits for a person’s body, it does threat the health of your plumbing, according to Aimee Fauci, blogger of Parent Tested, Parent Approved. She and her daughter were using coconut oil as a moisturizer for their hair and skin. After a few uses, she realized that the water in her sink and tub was taking longer to drain. The coconut oil had hardened and clogged her bathroom plumbing system.

Below is the step-by-step process from the National Library of Medicine for readers who would like to try oil pulling:

1. Put 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or sesame oil into your mouth

2. Swish continuously and vigorously for 15-20 minutes

3. Do not swallow the oil and bacteria mixture

4. When the time is up, spit the mixture into the trash, or else mix with dish soap before putting it down the sink drain

5. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water a few times to remove bacteria

6. Brush your teeth as normal

7. For best results, oil pull daily 8. Results should be apparent within one week of daily use

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