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Oil pulling, hip replacement

Created date

June 3rd, 2014

Q. Have you heard about oil pulling to improve oral health? 

A. So-called oil pulling—which involves gargling with coconut oil for a whopping 20 minutes—has little if any evidence-based science to back it up as an effective treatment. It’s become a growing trend, however, because some people attest that it helps whiten teeth, freshen breath, and can also improve symptoms of arthritis, bronchitis, and migraine headaches. It’s probably safe to try oil pulling, but avoid swallowing the coconut oil because it is very high in saturated fat. 

Q. My doctor says I might eventually need a hip replacement because of my arthritis. Is there anything I can do to avoid surgery?

A. Osteoarthritis is the most common reason older people have hip replacements. The disease process ultimately results in bone rubbing against bone in the hip joint. Spurs (bony projections) may also form. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person and before recommending a joint replacement, some doctors advise people to exercise (especially to make the muscles around the joint stronger), take pain medicines, or use an assistive device such as a cane or walker. If your arthritis symptoms are manageable, you may be able to delay surgery for a while, but once arthritis significantly interferes with your daily functioning, a hip replacement might be the best option to help you improve your quality of life. 

Cheryl Ziemba, M.D.

Medical Director, Crest

Pompton Plains, N.J.

Dr. Ziemba received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Queens College in Flushing, N.Y., and her medical degree from Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She completed her internship and residency at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, N.J. Following her residency, she completed a two-year fellowship training in geriatrics and adult development at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in N.Y. Ziemba is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. She joined Cedar Crest in August 2011.