I hate going to the dentist. It’s not because I fear needles or drills or even the smells associated with dental offices. No, I hate the games that dentists play. They remind me of auto mechanics in the 1980s – back when a woman could drive up to get new tires and leave with a dozen extra “necessary” repairs because “you wouldn’t want your differential relay valve gasket going out on the highway, now would you?” Those mechanics preyed on a woman’s fears and the assumption that, because she was a woman, she knew next to nothing about cars. Dentists, in my opinion, are the same. Even though we all have teeth, most of us know little about them. We know to brush and floss and stay away from too much sugar but other than that, a dentist could tell us that a differential relay valve gasket would give us a better smile and we’d be all over it. Why do you think they have Care Credit card applications in almost every dental office these days? Because differential relay valve gaskets are not cheap!
Once upon a time, I had a wonderful dentist. He was sweet and kind and in 20 years of going to him, I only had to have two cavities filled and my wisdom teeth removed. He even sent me a birthday card every year. When I moved to Colorado, I entered a whole new world of the dental arts. My first check-up revealed that I was in need of about $10,000 worth of repairs. Mind you, I had just visited Dr. Wonderful six months prior! Needless to say, I did not grab a Care Credit app and sign my life away. I just stopped going to the dentist…until we moved to Florida, where I thought, surely things were different. Oh no, they were worse! There have been only two times in my life that I have cried in public like my heart was breaking to pieces in my chest. One was at my grandma’s funeral. The other was in the dentist office in Florida…where I had zero work done, not even a check-up, because the dentist made me feel like I was unworthy of being alive, much less sitting in the same room as him.
When I moved back to TN, my mom informed me that Dr. Wonderful had retired and that I would have to find a new dentist. She also told me about her harrowing experience at a chain dental office, where she went in to have a filling replaced and came out with 3 teeth pulled, a partial that never quite fit right, and a hole from her gum all the way to her sinus cavity. The hole later required surgery to close but not before causing some serious sinus infections. Her next choice in dentists fixed all of that, of course, and it only cost a few grand. A few grand??!! To have a filling replaced. That was the original problem, remember.
So, to bring this long story to a close, we decided some time ago to take charge of our own dental care and visit the dentist only when we deemed it necessary. You might be shaking your head now and calling me names like “crazy” and “extreme” but before you judge too harshly, I have one more story for you. A few months ago, I noticed a dark spot, possibly the beginnings of a cavity, on my front tooth at the gum line. My first thought was “my mom needs to stop with the holiday sweets!” My second thought was “OMG! There goes my mental health and my emergency fund!” Then I calmed down and pulled out my Owner’s Manual for Teeth (which is just a fun way of saying I have a bunch of websites that discuss alternative dental care bookmarked in Google). The one that caught my attention was on oil pulling. This was something that I had passively considered before but not something that I gave much credence to. How could swishing oil around your mouth do anything for you?
Oil pulling is believed to have the following benefits:
But I was skeptical. So, I bought a tiny $1 jar of coconut oil at Dollar Tree in early December and started swishing the next day – just a teaspoon at first. Coconut oil has no discernible flavor to me, but the texture was something I definitely had to get used to. I was able to go 10 minutes, after which I rinsed and brushed my teeth with a natural baking soda toothpaste. I immediately noticed that my mouth felt really clean – cleaner than usual. A week later, I actually noticed a visible difference. The dark spot was still there but it was half the size and my gums were nice and pink, just like they should be. And this morning, guess what! No spot at all! (Sorry, I don’t have before and after pictures because I honestly thought this was not going to work.) Angie and I are both doing oil pulling now and my mom is interested as well. She bought the oil but hasn’t brought herself to try it yet (it’s the texture thing, she says).
Have you tried it? What were your results?
If you’re interested in learning more about oil pulling, here’s a great video from Dr. Axe.
As a side note, we are in no way recommending that folks stop going to the dentist. If this is something that is part of your oral healthcare routine, please continue on. We’re simply saying that there are alternatives. We are recommending that you have a working knowledge of everything that you own – from your car to your body and everything in between. Knowledge really is power. You can choose to use it to care for yourself or at the very least, to be better prepared to discern the truth about what your dentist (or your doctor or even your mechanic) is telling you.