I have done a few crazy things in my search for a holistic life, most of which, I am happy to report, have been successful, While I have not reached out for a wholly alternative, completely (for the lack of a better term) new age-ey kind of lifestyle, I do try to learn and absorb habits that offer a more back to basics, back to nature style of life. I do still turn on the air conditioning, or eat a certain amount of pre processed food. On the whole, though, I have a very eager curiosity for the time tested, folk lore laden rituals and habits that offer safe and effective health and wellness options.
In this quest, I came upon the ancient technique of oil pulling, and perhaps this will finally make me less unhappy that raw neem twigs are not available in Sydney for brushing my teeth. I have used neem while in India, and some find it gross, and it can seem unhygienic to the uninitiated. To me, though, the steady munching of the twigs, the swirling of the strong bitter saliva laden juice, the brushing of the teeth with the chewed out bristles and the eventual spitting out, was a paradoxically enjoyable process. I had loved the fresh feeling that was left behind, and I had felt some sort of connection to this ancient form of cleaning my teeth that has lasted thousands of years.
Hence, when I learnt about oil pulling, part of the same treasure house of wisdom that has brought us neem twigs for dental hygiene, I was excited. Here was something I could do in Australia, and it could become my mouth’s new best friend. So in spite of not being instantly enamoured of the idea of swirling my mouth with a tablespoon of oil, (OIL????) or the idea of swishing for 20 whole minutes, I did some research, and decided to give it a try. I got my cold pressed organic coconut oil, I measured out a tablespoon, and I swished, and spat. I made it to 15 minutes of swishing. Apparently twenty minutes is my goal. It is hard work, and maybe I pushed a little hard, as my tongue and chin felt sore afterwards. Do tongues have muscles? Next time I will have to be more gentle.
The strong taste of coconut receded quite quickly, and I even felt a few solid pieced of food debris slide out from behind nooks and crannies my toothbrush, and interdental brush had missed, and swirl around. It did leave a gross feeling after I had spat out the debris, and even though I rinsed my mouth out with warm water, it took a fair while before my mouth felt fresh. I did notice, though that, the next meal tasted more flavoursome, so something was working.
Now all I need to do, is pull some oil, once or twice a day, till my next dental visit, and see what the dentist says. I am hoping he will be quite impressed with the improvement he will notice.
Some information to start your own research with:
Here, I must confess, what really convinced me was the information that it has been practised in India since the ancient times. A lot of healthy advice has come from this source, which I tend to believe before I question.