Oil Pulling – A Dentist’s View

I first heard about oil pulling several years ago when one of my more “holistic” patients asked about it. Recently, the subject has been raised with increasing frequency. “Oil pulling” is an ancient Indian folk remedy in which oil is used as a kind of mouthwash. This technique is touted to improve oral health as well as provide many incredible detoxification benefits.

What is oil pulling and how does it work?

A tablespoon of oil is placed in the mouth and is swished around the teeth for twenty minutes. During this swishing process, bacteria that are present on the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth become trapped in the oil. Certain bacteria like Streptococcus Mutans cause gingivitis and dental decay, and eliminating them certainly leads to improved oral health. After the twenty minutes, the oil is expectorated (spit out) into the trash, not the sink or the toilet so as to avoid causing a clog.

Various different oils are recommended. The original technique apparently called for sesame oil, but more recently there seems to be a trend toward using coconut and sometimes sunflower oil. It is very important that the oil not be swallowed as all the collected bacteria could lead to systemic illness if ingested. Some people recommend performing this technique every day, while others suggest that four to five times a week is adequate.

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So what are the professed benefits of oil pulling?

This technique acts as an antibacterial and antiviral system, and so detoxifies the mouth and indirectly the entire body. The potential benefits of this treatment include:

  • Whiter teeth
  • Healthier teeth and gums
  • Improvement of acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • Clearing sinuses and helping allergy sufferers
  • Eliminating halitosis
  • Helping with general pain issues
  • And many more

Is there any truth to all of these claims?

As a matter of fact, there is reason to believe that this technique does provide detoxification benefits. This is one of a number of methods which can be used to clean the mouth so thoroughly that the body is better able to heal itself. Apparently there is a study which was published in 2008 in which oil pulling using sesame oil resulted in a significant reduction in Streptococcus Mutans after two weeks. However, this technique was not as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash which is commonly recommended by dentists and periodontists to control gum inflammation. In addition, a serious limitation of this technique is that the oil only travels about one millimeter deep into the gums around the teeth, and the more damaging infections are more than three millimeters deep. This technique should not be used by people with active gum disease.

The most interesting thing about this technique is that it highlights the fact that as our oral health improves, so does our general health. Everything in the body is connected. So that improvement in the sinuses, the throat, the cardiovascular system, the skin and various other body systems is a very positive byproduct. When the mouth is healthier, the level of inflammation in the body is reduced, the body is better able then to heal, and we feel better and look better.

Oil pulling may be considered as an alternative to an excellent oral homecare regimen. Such a regimen would include brushing for two minutes twice each day and especially before bed, flossing between the teeth regularly, and perhaps using a WaterPik with an antimicrobial agent on a regular basis as well. Ideally people should have their dentist or hygienist recommend an oral care system specifically designed for him or her. In addition, nowadays we even have a DNA test which can determine specifically which bacteria are present in each patient’s mouth, and if they have the specific marker which might make them more susceptible to periodontal disease.

If you have any questions about oil pulling or would like information about developing a homecare regimen for yourself, please feel free to contact us by telephone at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Is the “Clean” Program for You?

On January 2, as has been the case for many years, I began a nutritional program in order to rid my body of all the excesses which have been inevitable during the holidays. In the office, we truly appreciate the many gifts we receive during December, and are always amazed that 95% of them are either sugar–laden delectables or adult beverages. In addition, there are the holiday parties and family celebrations all of which involve lots of wonderful food and wine. Couple the opportunity for all this overindulgence with under–performing self-control and I face the usual weight gain coupled with some minor gastric distress and a subtle feeling of malaise.

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So, this January 2nd I began the twenty-one day cleanse known as “Clean”. This is the same program that I wrote to you about last year. It’s a program designed by Dr. Alejandro Junger which is rather strict yet uncomplicated. Basically, I have given up all gluten, dairy, alcohol, and specific other foods as outlined in the book. During this three-week period, there is one solid meal at lunchtime. Breakfast is a smoothie and dinner is a soup. All foods are organic whenever possible.

I had forgotten much about the experience during last year’s cleanse. I can truly say that the results are amazing. I am sleeping so much better and perhaps that is the main reason why I have so much energy. Even my mood is different. I feel much more optimistic and upbeat than in the recent past. I have already lost six pounds and my osteo-arthritic knees are feeling better.

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I had first heard about this program from a fellow dentist who had been battling cancer. In addition to his regular cancer treatment, this man also began the Clean program. He too shared his feelings about how wonderful he felt after the initial three-week cleanse. And, I am happy to report that he is totally healthy with his cancer in remission. I am not saying that this program is the single cause of his current health, but his impassioned description of his experience while on the program had convinced me to give it a try.

Anecdotally, I had been rather ill during December with the upper respiratory infection which was being passed around at that time. Since beginning the Clean program my health has continued to improve and I now feel one hundred percent. Around me, however, are people who had similar illnesses which continue to linger or even seem to resurface. I wonder if this program might be helping my body to better fight disease.

If you have put on some weight, just feel a bit sluggish, or have any interest in getting a body tune-up, perhaps this program is for you. You can find the book entitled CLEAN with the subtitle The Revolutionary Program To Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself written by Alejandro Junger, M. D. You may also Google this program to get a better sense of what it’s about. A series of products are offered online but not necessary. For what it’s worth, I only use foods and beverages which are easily available in your grocery store.

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If you have any questions about this program, feel free to contact me in the office at 908.359.6655 or via our website at  www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com   .

Need a Dose of Commitment?

Need A Dose Of Commitment?

If you had plans to change or improve or evolve in some way this year, I would love to know how you are doing!

Year after year, all of us who are regulars at the gym witness the “January Phenomenon.”  For about six weeks beginning at the end of December, there are too few parking spaces near the gym entrance.  It seems like long walks in the cold wearing only gym clothes is the norm until mid February.  Similarly, those of us who like to take classes – and I do love spin class – must arrive very early to claim an available bike as classes are generally full during that same time period.  Those that arrive in the nick of time are often bikeless and very disappointed.

Maintaining my commitment to exercise has never been an issue for me – I enjoy both working out as well as the people I’ve come to know at the gym.  As reported to you earlier this month, I began the “Clean” nutritional program again this year for the second time.  I felt great and had lost most of the holiday pounds which had been gained.  Then, came my birthday last week!  My wife loves to travel that week, so we went away for five days to “celebrate.”  Boy did we celebrate!  We traveled with two of our closest friends and played golf, ate great food, drank some nice wine, and forgot the cold weather – and our commitments.  Actually, for the first few days, except for some really nice wine, I ate only foods which were on the program and did not overindulge even a tiny bit.  On my birthday, fuggettaboutit!  What the heck, it was my birthday!
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That one day turned into a four-day food fest, and I felt like the prior two and a half weeks were wasted.  But, not true!  On Monday I started the program in earnest all over again without any signs of withdrawal!   So, I’m back on track with goals in tact and a plan to succeed.  The discomfort in my arthritic knees and the mirror in my bedroom are all I need to stay on track.  In the back of my mind is always the thought that a little compromise grows into a big one resulting in a loss of focus and the end of commitment.  Rewarding one’s self is another story and can help us meet our obligations to ourselves for the long haul.  That’s my view.

So, I wonder.  What can you share about your commitments?  What helps you to meet your goals or resolutions?  What experience can you share to help others?  I’d love to hear from you!  You may add a comment on this blog, send me an email via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com , or post a comment on our Facebook page.  May you all enjoy smooth sailing in the direction you have chosen for your lives!  All the best in 2013!

New Year ~ Old Resolution: How Dr. Nadler eats “Clean”

On January 2, I began my annual nutritional cleansing program as I have done for the past decade and a half.  After a solid month of holiday and party food, I usually have a few pounds to shed and just don’t feel 100 percent.

This year, just like last year, I began the twenty-one day “Clean” program, which I had heard about from another dentist who attends the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, where I also studied.  Not only does this cleanse help me to lose weight – eight pounds so far – but, it also has changed the way I eat entirely.  And, most importantly, this program introduced an awareness of the quality and healthiness of the foods that my family and I eat.

I had never before heard of GMO’s – Genetically Modified Organisms.  These are foods which have been engineered for a variety of reasons to produce more crops, be more insect resistant, be bigger and so forth.  And, there are a growing number of consumers, health professionals and producers who feel that GMO’s can be hazardous to our health.  I guess this is why we see an ever-increasing assortment of organic and gluten-free products and dairy substitutes like almond milk in our grocery stores.

To get a better sense of what has been happening to our food supply, I recommend that you watch a 2008 movie called “Food, Inc.”  This 90-minute documentary created quite a stir in the agribusiness community and was highly rated by critics.  You may also wish to read a short article (read here) entitled “GMO alert:  top 10 genetically modified foods to avoid eating.”

As for the cleanse, the program is rather rigorous as there is only one solid meal per day for three weeks.  Only fresh, non-processed, preferably organic foods are consumed.  After the initial cleanse, different foods are reintroduced to the diet.  This way, you can easily see which foods may be having a negative effect on your health and well-being.  After last year’s cleanse, I learned that dairy (except eggs) were out for me.  I have also eliminated gluten and starches like potatoes.  The result?  More energy, excellent health, much less flab.

So, if this is of interest to you, check out the book CLEAN by AlejandroJunger, M.D.  If you have any questions about this program or my experiences with it, feel free to call me in the office at 908.359.6655 or send an email via our website at www. DesignsForDentalHealth.com