It’s habit that most of us take part in… and most of us end up with high blood pressure. Is there a connection?
There most definitely is… and it comes down to bacteria.
Now, I’m not talking about the bad bacteria in your mouth that you’ve heard can harm your heart by releasing toxins and getting into your bloodstream causing inflammation. This is all about the good bacteria that research keeps revealing is not only good for us, but also has an active role in how your body functions…
“Washing” out natural BP regulators
Every time you rinse and gargle with mouthwash you’re washing out odor-causing bacteria from your mouth.
Sure, you’ll have minty fresh breath, but you could be paying a higher price. That because when you take part in this daily dental habit you are interfering with your body’s natural production of a vital nutrient that helps manage your blood pressure — nitric oxide (NO).
The lining of your blood vessels perform important functions that affect your blood flow and blood pressure. In many people with heart problems, the lining, known as endothelial tissue or the endothelium, loses some of its flexibility.
That loss of pliability can restrict the heart’s ability to supply adequate blood to your muscles, the heart and the brain. Plus, the resulting stiffness can lead to serious increases in blood pressure.
Inorganic nitrates, a nutrient found in beets as well as spinach and other foods, help the body produce NO, a compound that lowers blood pressure, helps blood vessels dilate and powers up mitochondria. Until recently, nitrate wasn’t thought to have any nutritional value. But researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have shown that dietary nitrate feeds into a pathway that produces NO with the help of friendly bacteria found in our mouths.
In the same way that over-medicating with antibiotics can harm your valuable gut microbiome, antibacterial mouthwash doesn’t differentiate between the good and bad (smelly) bacteria in your mouth. And it’s a safe bet that most of us aren’t getting as much dietary nitrate as we should to produce NO anyway, so it’s all that much more important not to do anything to diminish it …
Can you have healthy BP and a fresh mouth?
So what can you do to have a fresh clean mouth without hurting your natural production of nitric oxide?
According to the holistic dentist, the answer is oil pulling. And while that may sound mysterious and complex, it’s actually easy…
After brushing, just put one tablespoon of oil in your mouth (many people prefer coconut oil) and gently work it around your mouth, swishing or pulling it between your teeth. Do this for at least 10 minutes and up to 20, with practice. When done simply spit it out, run hot water down the sink (to keep oil from building up in your plumbing) and rinse your mouth with warm water containing a little sea salt.
Now, coconut oil has natural antimicrobial properties, but if you are extra cautious about your heart health, some research shows that sesame oil hits a home run there…
Sesame oil has a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats and is a good source of vitamin E, which would be absorbed while you’re swishing it about your mouth. Vitamin E is important in the battle against metabolic syndrome, plus a specific antioxidant in sesame oil—sesamin—has been found to inhibit absorption of cholesterol and exhibit antihypertensive action.