Bleeding Gums: The Profound Dangers
Think bleeding gums are only a dental issue? It turns out poor gum health can affect your heart, your mental health, and more . . .
Researchers have known for some time that bacteria in your mouth are also found inside arterial plaque and on the valves of the heart and the brain.1,2,9,10 These unhealthy bacteria are thought to find their way into the bloodstream through the gums, especially if you have bleeding gums. Flossing and even chewing can irritate gum tissue, cause minor bleeding, and open the door for bacteria exposure to the heart and arteries.2
Plenty of evidence links common undesirable mouth bacteria like Streptococcus mutans to a host of health concerns, including arterial, heart, lung, brain, and blood sugar health.1 The prevalence of S. mutans is very high compared to other oral bacteria. In one report, S. mutans was found in 69% of heart valve cases and 74% of arterial plaque specimens.2
Recent studies link S. mutans to amyloid plaque, which can accumulate in the brain.9 It has also been linked to cerebral microbleeds, resulting in collagen deposits, plaque formation, and cognitive decline.10
Understanding the link between potentially pathogenic bacteria in the mouth and your overall health cannot be understated. While dentists are adamant regarding oral hygiene, few of their preventative strategies actually reduce the population of S. mutans in the mouth. Luckily, Ayurveda has a strategy!
Ayurvedic Oil Pulling for Gum Health + More
Ayurveda has recommended a daily oral hygiene strategy for thousands of years that has recently been shown to reduce S. mutans and plaque and support healthy gums.
Oil pulling is a technique where sesame and coconut oil are swished in the mouth for 10-15 minutes daily.3-5,7 This is best performed after tongue scraping, brushing, and flossing, and can be done while showering.
Studies show swishing these oils creates a saponification or detergent effect that deters bad bacteria and plaque, while supporting healthy gum tissue as a barrier against bacterial exposure to the bloodstream.3-5,7
In one amazing study, when coconut oil was partially digested by swishing in the mouth, it enhanced its antimicrobial effects. In other words, the act of swishing oil in the mouth boosts its ability to protect us from undesirable bacterial like S. mutans entering the bloodstream.6
According to a study investigating cognitive decline at the UCLA Buck Institute, good oral hygiene is one of the top 10 keys to longevity.8 This is one of those examples where an ancient practice, which may seem silly or trendy by today’s standards, is making a comeback as science continues to validate this practice.
Have you tried oil pulling? What have you noticed?
Note: The Ayurvedic techniques of tongue scraping and oil pulling should be performed in addition to regular brushing and flossing as prescribed by your dentist.