Oil Pulling – IN THE NEWS

dental hygienist King CityIn this blog post, I would like to highlight the extensive information that seems to be currently circulating in the news and my office about the new/old Ayurvedic practice called “Oil Pulling”.

Oil pulling is reported to be a remedy for not only improving oral health but overall health and detoxification. It involves the use of pure, organic oils as agents for pulling harmful bacteria, fungus and other organisms out of the mouth, teeth, gums and even throat.

The procedure involves placing a tablespoon of a cold pressed oil (more on this later) into the mouth and swishing this around and in between the teeth for 10-20 minutes and then spitting it out. The oil mixes with the saliva, turning it into a thin, white liquid and as it pulls the toxins from the teeth, gums and tongue, it then becomes thick, viscous and white.

Oil pulling appears to increase saponification (soap making) in the mouth, creating an environment that cleanses harmful bacteria as well as reducing fungal overgrowth. It has also been noted that the oils possibly help in cellular restructuring and are related to the proper functioning of the lymph nodes and other internal organs, hence the overall health benefits.

A 2007 study looking into the effect of oil pulling (with sunflower oil) on plaque and gingivitis resulted in a statistically significant reduction in gingivitis after 45 days. Another study conducted in 2008 found that sesame oil pulling reduced the total count of bacteria, and overall, a marked reduction in dental cavity susceptibility. When the antibacterial effects were then studied it appeared that the sesame oil had a profound effect on Streptococcus Mutans, the acid-producing germs said to be responsible for tooth decay.

In another study done at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, scientists found that coconut oil effectively inhibited a majority of strains but was particularly harmful to Candida Albicans; a yeast. Dr. Damien Brady who led the research said that, “With increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection”. It would appear that healthy oils may provide an attractive alternative to chemical additives.

Another added benefit that has been reported by patients who I have interviewed who practice this therapy is whiter teeth! So…while I won’t suggest giving up your brushing and flossing just yet, oil pulling may be something you might want to add to your daily routine.

If you are someone who has had success with this therapy I would love to hear what your results have been and if you feel that it has been worth your time and effort.

Initially I had planned on updating you all in this month’s blog about my research into mercury contamination of waste water from dental offices. However….Environment Canada has still not returned my calls after leaving a number of messages. I will call them again this week and hopefully I will soon be able to consolidate information and have some answers for next month!

I welcome your feedback. Please leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site.

Until next time,




Mercury Contamination of Waste Water from Dental Offices

Mercury contamination in dentist officesWhen I began to do the research on mercury contamination of waste water from dental offices, I had no idea of the Pandora’s Box I was opening!

As most of you now know, I decided last month that because of the possibility of mercury contamination to my home office and property, that I would not be able to have a dentist working here with me at Woodland.

In the process of researching how to capture, contain and dispose of mercury contaminated waste water, it became evident that this was a far greater issue than I had previously realized.

While a growing number of dentists are no longer placing mercury fillings…YEAH…they are still removing old ones, and therefore the disposal of this material…a biohazard…is of monumental importance.

Continue reading

Dentist at Woodland Dental Hygiene?

Mercury fillingsI have spent the last few months seriously considering having a dentist work with me here at Woodland Dental Hygiene.

The possibilities of having my patients see someone “in office” for their restorative work is obviously appealing on many levels.  For my patients, the most obvious benefit would be that they only have to visit one office; insuring a continuity of care that is often difficult to achieve when they have to visit someone who does not share my holistic approach.  For me, it would simplify the referral process as assessment and treatment notes would not have to be forwarded back and forth and professional collaboration would be simplified.

In weighing the many pros and cons of such a move, I actually did a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, and on paper, it seemed that it would be a smart move!

However, a glaring “weakness” that I had really not considered until then, was the fact that when a dentist removes old mercury fillings, a portion of the mercury contained in that filling, escapes the now “regulatory” amalgam separator and enters the waste water from the clinic. Since I am in the country and on a septic system, this would mean, “some degree of mercury contamination to my property”!

As a Silver-Certified member of the Eco Dentistry association, I am committed to a dental profession that values both outstanding patient care and outstanding planetary care.  I recognize that as a dental professional I make decisions every day that impact my health, my patients health and the health of our Earth.

While the decision to have a dentist work here would certainly help provide outstanding patient care it clearly would not be in the best interests of my health and the planet’s health!  As a result, I have decided that a dentist working here will not be possible!

Next month, I would like to discuss some of the information that I have recently uncovered about where all that mercury from dental offices has been going that you and I have never even thought about!!

I’d love your feedback! And please feel free to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one, via the commentluv feature right here on the site.

In health,



Kathleen Bernardi – Reflecting on 2013

Woodland Dental HygieneNow that the “crush” of the holiday season is over and I am beginning to settle into the first few timid days of 2014, I am spending some time reflecting on 2013 and have consolidated the highlights here:

  • Balance, balance and more balance
  • Thank God all of us are different
  • Expect the unexpected and allow for it in my schedule
  • Leave the room and take a deep breath
  • Learn how to listen
  • Have a schedule but be flexible
  • Ask
  • Admit when I don’t know something
  • Don’t hold grudges
  • Multitasking reduces productivity by 30%…FACT
  • Begin and end the day with gratitude for “everything” that has come my way

Continue reading

Israel to End Water Fluoridation

Israel to end fluoridationAs most of my family and friends are aware, some of my new daughter-in-law’s family stayed with us before and after our son’s wedding in August.

In getting to know each other better I found out that Natalie’s sister and fiancée are both scientists, she is doing her PHD and him his masters, both in chemistry.

They are both highly opposed to water fluoridation, citing its acute toxicity and expressed their sincere thankfulness that Israel will finally end this archaic practice. Continue reading

A Chair In The Woods

Wedding 2013I am writing this month’s edition of “A Chair In The Woods” from our family cottage where we are taking a few days off after hosting the marriage of our son Michael to Natalie at our home last Saturday.

After months of planning, the magical day unfolded into a beautiful celebration of love and commitment. Even the weather behaved as if made to order. Continue reading

Dental Decay is a Systemic Disease: Part 2

Boy with apple

As I mentioned last month, there is a rather shocking conclusion to the research that Ralph Steinman did involving diet and tooth decay.

Firstly, what is simply profound to me as a dental professional is that they observed the tracers that they used in the food show up within the rat’s teeth minutes after they ate!  I want to stop here and have everyone reflect on this for just a moment:

Food eaten affected the teeth almost immediately!!! Continue reading

Dental Decay is a Systemic Disease

16185424_sAre you one of those many people who brushes and flosses religiously only to be told you have yet another cavity when you visit the dentist for a check-up?

Please don’t despair as there is more to the story!

According to research published in the late 1960’s by the late Nobel Laureate Dr. Ralph Steinman; Dental Decay is a Systemic Disease.  What that means to you who are frustrated and confused is that there is more you can do to help yourself because dental decay is related to the health of the Whole Body. Continue reading

Fluoride Free Vaughan

As a member of the Fluoride Action Network and Canadians Opposed to Fluoridation, I am happy to report that there is a local group forming to deal with this very important issue.

In response to an overwhelming number of concerned York Region citizens contacting the Fluoride Action Network, York University biology student Audrey Swartz has agreed to organize a “Fluoride Free Vaughan” working group to have fluoride removed from the municipal water supply.

If anyone is concerned or even interested in this issue please consider: Continue reading

The Difference Between Healing and Curing

bigstock-Sillouette-of-man-kayaking-on--21486803As 2012 begins to gather momentum and with it the opportunity for new beginnings, I would like to reflect on the difference between healing and curing and why we need to make a distinction between the two when dealing with improving our health.

The difference between the two became very clear to me as I began to read “Anatomy of the Spirit, the Seven Stages of Power and Healing” by Caroline Myss, PH.D.  during the recent holidays. Continue reading