I came across a Facebook post not too long ago that asked: Besides painful periods, what other symptoms have you had with endometriosis?
One of the responses: periodontal disease.
Really? That one made me pause.
I’ve struggled with receding gums since starting college over 15 years ago. This is something that has progressively gotten worse.
Lately, it’s been painful to brush most of my gum line. My gums have been swollen and about a month ago I started getting pain near my molar that has made it hard to chew.
In the past I brought up the issue of receding gums to my dentist and was told that my gums were like that because I brushed too hard.
Get the softer brushes, only use two fingers when you brush, they suggested.
I didn’t think I was an overly aggressive brusher.
As one who’s had most health concerns brushed off as “normal”, I didn’t completely believe this advice.
And after seeing the confirmed connection between endometriosis and periodontal disease, curiosity sparked this post.
Your Mouth & Your Immune System
The link between endometriosis and periodontal disease makes sense considering both are immune response deficiencies.
Your mouth is the first point of contact your immune system has with the bacteria and microbes you eat or inhale.
Your tonsils are a grouping of lymphoid tissues that perform different functions for your immune system and the oropharynx at the back of your throat creates a barrier of sorts: a gateway down to your digestive tract (where about 80% of your immune system is).
Your gums are gateways into your circulatory system and the cracks between tooth and gum is a sensitive space. This allows entry of different bacteria and toxins to enter your blood stream.
Oral Health & Your Gut
I think that receding gums are a visual that something is out of balance (and has been for a long time). This is not just from brushing too hard.
The connection is an immune system problem.
Looking back, I realized that the issues with my gums started shortly after I started on birth control pills and was popping over the counter pain medication multiple times a day.
I didn’t know at the time that these choices were damaging my gut, contributing to immune system issues.
In Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, much attention is given to oral health. Often times an exam includes analysis of your tongue.
By observing your tongue, you can observe the health of your internal organs. This is because your tongue connects to different organs in your body.
Your tongue is said to be a mirror to your inside. It is soaked with microbes and is the path down to your digestive tract.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
So what’s a natural way to address this immune system breakdown in my mouth?
As a way of cleansing your mouth, Ayurveda promotes the practice of oil pulling.
Sesame, safflower or coconut oil is used as a way to pull out toxins from your mouth, and as a result, you pull toxins out of the other systems of your body.
Pursuing articles and discussion boards showed me many stories of people experiencing positive effects of oil pulling.
Oil pulling helps with:
- whitening teeth and promoting oral health
- increasing energy
- detoxing your body
- hormonal balance
- reducing headaches
- clearing skin
How to Do Oil Pulling
To do oil pulling, start out with a teaspoon of oil (suggested sesame, safflower or coconut oil) and swirl it around in your mouth for 10 – 20 minutes.
Then spit it out into the trash. Don’t dump it down the drain as that will stick up your pipes and definitely don’t swallow the oil as it will be filled with toxins.
A good time to do it is when you shower.
You may not be able to do 10 – 20 minutes at first. It can be wearing on your cheeks. Start off doing what you can.
As you get better you can add more oil: up to a Tablespoon.
On the Positive Side?
I’ve done the oil pulling four times now.
When I first did this with (solid) coconut oil it was…. weird. Eventually the coconut oil warms up and breaks down.
Honestly, I don’t love doing it, but I know that it has many benefits, so I overlook this fact 🙂
On the last try I got nauseous shortly afterwards. It took me awhile to recognize that this reaction was to the oil pulling. This practice is definitely detoxifying.
I’m going to continue with it. My gums are feeling better already and the pain in my back tooth is improved.
Have you tried oil pulling? What was your experience like?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.