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Benefits of Oil Pulling: Why You Should do it Every Morning

You brush, floss, and go to the dentist twice a year. Surely you are guaranteed good oral health after all of that, right? While these are all important, you may be missing another habit in your daily routine that could benefit your whole body — oil pulling. In just 15 minutes a day, this ancient Ayurvedic remedy can boost heart and gum health and reduce bad breath. 

You may be wondering, what exactly is oil pulling, and how do you do it? Before you grab oil out of your pantry and start swishing it around in your mouth, you should know a few things about this intriguing practice. 

What is oil pulling?

As the name would suggest, oil pulling is simply swishing about a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth for 5-15 minutes, pushing it between your teeth like liquid floss. 

Edible oil works in the mouth to clear away lingering bacteria, plaque, draw toxins out of the body, and reduce bad breath. Or at least, that is the idea. But where did this strange oral habit come from? And can it really do all of that? Let’s see what science has to say about it.

A brief history of oil pulling

The history of oral hygiene is fascinating and more complex than you might think. For thousands of years, people have been utilizing makeshift toothbrushes, plants as toothpaste, and other tools to pick at, clean, and take care of their teeth. However, the history of oral hygiene wouldn’t be complete without oil pulling.

Though you may have heard of it only recently, oil pulling or Gandusha is far from a new tradition. It has been around for over 3,000 years! Ancient Ayurvedic practitioners in India utilized oil pulling to benefit the body, prevent and reverse disease in the mouth, and look after the teeth and gums. 

Benefits of oil pulling

Oil pulling doesn’t replace proper dental care and brushing and flossing, but it is undoubtedly an excellent and effective addition to your oral hygiene routine. 

Oil pulling can:

  • Improve gum health. Gingivitis is an inflammatory gum disease caused by poor oral hygiene and bacterial buildup. Studies have supported the use of oil pulling to reduce plaque-related gingivitis and improve gum health.
  • Reduce bad breath. Halitosis, or bad breath, can occur for several reasons. Primarily, it results from bad bacteria in your mouth that create an unpleasant stench. Studies suggest that oil pulling with sesame oil is equally effective as the prescription mouthwash chlorhexidine in reducing halitosis.
  • Kill bad bacteria. While bacteria can be beneficial in some cases, bad bacteria buildup in the mouth can be a severe problem, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. 

Though proper oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing can help keep bacteria at bay, studies show that oil pulling could help give you extra ammunition, cutting down on bacteria present in saliva.

  • Whiten teeth. Anecdotal evidence suggests oil pulling could lighten teeth and prevent staining. Unfortunately, there aren’t any reputable studies to back up these claims. However, oil pulling doesn’t harm your teeth, so it’s worth a shot!

Oral health and the heart

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the mouth is the window to the body. Looking after your teeth isn’t just essential for maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay; it can also keep your heart healthy.  Many factors contribute to heart health, and every system in the body is connected to the heart, including your mouth. 

Studies have shown that people with poor oral health and conditions such as gingivitis have a higher chance of developing heart disease, including issues such as heart attack and stroke. Research has also suggested some concern with the bacteria involved in periodontal disease traveling to the bloodstream and causing an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. This inflammation can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

More scientific studies are still forthcoming to back the connection between dental health and heart conditions. However, one large study of almost one million participants showed a moderate connection between tooth loss (due to poor oral hygiene) and coronary heart disease. 

The best oil to use

Coconut oil is the standout oil for oral health. Its potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and yummy coconut flavor make it popular for oil pulling. Plus, it contains lauric acid, which has proven anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, making it beneficial for fighting inflammatory conditions in the mouth such as gingivitis. 

Sesame oil is another popular choice linked to a 20 percent reduction in harmful bacteria after 40 days of oil pulling. You may also use sunflower oil, but it is not as well-studied as coconut and sesame oil. Many people mix sesame or sunflower oil with coconut oil to receive the benefits of both and keep coconut oil at a liquid consistency.

Oil alone is effective for oil pulling, but bacteria-killing essential oils such as peppermint, spearmint, clove, or lemon can enhance the benefits. Add one or two drops of food-grade essential oil into your tablespoon to boost the flavor and take your oil pulling up a notch.

How to oil pull

Before brushing your teeth or eating breakfast, grab your oil of choice and start swishing! It is best to oil pull on an empty stomach, so most people incorporate it into their morning routine.

  1. Place one tablespoon of oil in your mouth. If you use coconut oil, warm it up slightly to restore it to a liquid state. Coconut oil will melt in your mouth, but some people don’t like the initial texture.
  2. Swish the oil in your mouth for 5-15 minutes. It can feel like a long time at first! If you feel the urge to spit it out sooner or just don’t like the feeling of oil in your mouth, aim for just three to five minutes at first and slowly increase the amount of time you spend oil pulling.
  3. Be sure to push it through your teeth. You may receive some benefits from just leaving the oil in your mouth and occasionally moving it around. However, the primary gain will be in actively swishing the oil around your mouth and through your teeth. Start slowly. The oil will be thick at first but will become easier to push through your teeth as it warms up.
  4. Find something to do. Most people don’t have an extra 15 minutes built into their morning routine. Instead of just staring at yourself in the bathroom mirror and checking your timer every 30 seconds, use this time to make your bed, brew your coffee, read the news, take a shower, or whatever else you do in the morning. You will find it much easier to incorporate into your day this way.
  5. Spit it into the garbage. Do not swallow the oil! You are using an edible oil that is safe to swallow, but it is full of toxins and bacteria that you don’t want to return to your body after oil pulling. Spit it into your bathroom trashcan instead of the sink, as it could lead to clogged drains over time.
  6. Rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth with water only. Once spitting the oil out, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth without toothpaste. Use a different toothbrush than your normal one, as you will use this toothbrush to remove any residual oil and should reserve it for post-oil pulling. 
  7. Brush teeth with toothpaste. Using your regular toothbrush, brush your teeth with toothpaste as you normally would in the morning. 
  8. Drink water. After oil pulling, drink a full glass of room temperature water to rehydrate your body and get a head start on your water consumption for the day.

Note: Relax and reduce your swishing intensity if you experience jaw or facial pain or soreness after oil pulling.

The best diet for dental health

Our ancient ancestors lived off the land, eating vegetables, fruits, and meat that they caught themselves, not prepackaged pasta, white bread, and soda. It makes sense then that, though they didn’t have the benefit of bi-annual dental visits, our ancestors had exceedingly low rates of oral disease. 

Along with regular oil pulling and dental care, one of the best things you can do for your teeth is to eat as they did. Eat a 100 Year Heart Diet filled with real, whole, organic foods and cut down on processed carbs and refined sugar. Your entire body, including your mouth, will benefit!

Next steps

While modern science has been slow to jump on the oil pulling bandwagon, thousands of years back up its many benefits. It’s inexpensive, easy, and doesn’t pose any side effects. If you decide to include essential oils in your oil pulling routine, consider Vibrant Blue Oils for pure, organic, and wildcrafted essential oils blends. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and oil pull. Your dentist will thank you.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 


Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD

In order to live well, one must eat well.

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About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

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Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.