Logo NHC

How to Save Money at the Dentist (Hint: Oil Pulling Works!)

The Health Benefits of Oil Pulling!

I have literally been waiting months to write this blog! No kidding.

Do you like going to the dentist? Most of us don’t. I have a great mercury free dentist: he’s open minded to natural approaches to dentistry and some of his hygienists are knowledgeable about natural health, too, …but I’d rather only visit them for my routine cleanings – nothing else!

Going to the dentist can get expensive – even with dental insurance. So I determined after my last visit to make a concerted effort to take better care of my teeth. Mind you, I was pretty conscientious, but saving money is a huge motivator for me.

I thought about all the things they check during a routine cleaning and what my results were. How could I improve?

When you go to the dentist for your a cleaning, do they measure your periodontal pocket depth? If they don’t, you might want to get a different dentist!  Here’s a 29 second video that explains the procedure.

Basically, it checks your gums for periodontal disease. What is that? It’s a topic for another blog, but Mayo Clinic defines it this way:

“Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Periodontitis can cause tooth loss or worse, an increased risk of heart attack or stroke and other serious health problems. Periodontitis is common but largely PREVENTABLE”…..(Emphasis mine!)

The health of your gums says a lot about the health of your body. Bad gums = poor health.
I knew my oral health needed to be a priority, because aging has its challenges. (And yes, there was that saving money motivator, too!) So I set three goals for myself:

1) Floss every day. 

I know, it’s a no-brainer, but it is important. I was pretty good about flossing most days, but still got lazy on occasion. Natural Healthy Concepts has a great Tea Tree Oil Dental Floss!

2) Use my GUM Soft-Picks® every day. 

If you don’t know about Soft-Picks (they’re the little green things in the middle of the picture for this post!), you’ll want to add them to your daily hygiene routine ASAP. The hygienist at my dentist’s office tipped me off to them. You use them in addition to your dental floss.

When I first started using them along with the floss – they did make a difference at my next cleaning! According to the package “Clinical data show that Soft-Picks are as effective as string floss in removing interdental plaque and reducing gingivitis.” Gingivitis is a fancy word for inflammation of the gums and is a precursor to periodontitis. You don’t want gingivitis!

3) Try oil-pulling until my next dentist appointment.

Oil-pulling? If you’re new to the natural health arena, this might be foreign to you, but it’s quite popular. When Dr. Mercola devoted an entire blog post to it, I knew it had some merit. Read his entire post below, and I’ve linked to other posts on oil-pulling. They all have their own spin to it, but the bottom line is it works!

I followed Dr. Mercola’s instructions and committed to doing it a minimum of 5 days a week….and I did.  Since I’m an early riser, it was actually quite simple once I got into a routine.

How to do oil-pulling

You can do this before you go to bed at night, but morning works best for me.

Before you eat or drink anything…..

1) Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth until it melts. I use Garden of Life Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Sunflower and sesame oil are often used, but I liked Dr. Mercola’s suggestion of coconut oil and since I’m very aware of the amazing benefits of coconut oil (and I like it!) it was a good fit for me. If you decide to try this and need to get used to the taste or texture of the coconut oil in your mouth – start with just a teaspoon and work your way up to a full tablespoon.

2) Keep swishing for 20 minutes.

(Note: Do NOT gargle with it – that’s some nasty stuff in your mouth and you don’t want to swallow it!)

I normally lose track of time and swish for 30 minutes. Don’t over-do the swishing or you’ll get a sore jaw! Stay relaxed – you’ll get the hang of it.

When the time is up, spit it out – remember it’s full of germs, so spit in the toilet or a bag in the garbage!

3) Rinse with baking soda water

Take a cup of pure water mixed with a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and swish it around in your mouth. It’s okay to gargle now! The baking soda water restores the pH levels of your mouth.

That’s it! When you’re finished your mouth will feel really clean and you can brush your teeth.

When I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning, I got great results!  My teeth were whiter (that was a bonus!) the hygienist didn’t have to take a jack-hammer to the plaque on the inside of my lower teeth, but more important, the numbers on my periodontal pocket check improved significantly!

I had so many teeth that went from twos to ones and threes to twos. I wanted to be sure I heard her correctly so I asked for a printout comparing the two visits. There was no mistake, everything was better, oil-pulling works! Take a look at my positive oil pulling results below…

Postive oil-pulling-results

If you have blood sugar issues or heart problems, oil-pulling could be especially helpful for you. This article from United Health says “Better dental care for people with chronic medical conditions can reduce medical costs by more than $1,000 per person per year….”  That’s one way to keep money in your wallet!

If you want to know more about the connection between a healthy diet and good dental health, you should read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price. Your oral health is important to a healthy you.

Update: September 2014
After my previous checkup where I had been oil pulling faithfully at least 5 days a week, I got lazy and only did it two or three times a week. When I went for my 6 month check up, even the hygienist could tell. I had more plaque on my teeth and some of my periodontal numbers went south. I’m back on track now! Just more  proof that oil pulling works!

We’d love to hear how you save money at the dentist – post a comment below!

More From Mary Bloomer About Oil Pulling Benefits

References and Resources: