The inclusion oil pulling as part of a morning oral hygiene routine has been increasing in popularity. Many people and natural health care practitioners recommend it to improve oral health as well as many other overall health benefits. There are lots of reports of people having success treating everything from bad breath (halitosis) to receding gums with this all-natural remedy. There’s no risk of dangerous side effects, so if it sounds intriguing then keep reading to learn more.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling originates from then ancient Indian principle of ayurvedic medicine, which has been embraced for over 5000 years. Ayurveda promotes a healthy body through prevention and treatment of illness by lifestyle practice. These lifestyle practices include meditation, massage, yoga, diet and natural herbal medicines. Also known as “gundusha” or “kavala”, oil pulling is one of many parts of Indian natural medicine history.
Oil pulling draws harmful bacteria and toxins from your body, trapping them in the oil which you then spit out. It’s a simple process, and a natural way to help cleanse your body organically.
How Does Oil Pulling Work?
The process involves gently swishing a vegetable-based oil around in your mouth for 15 minutes daily, over the course of at least a two-week period. While almost any vegetable oil will work, coconut oil is recommended because it is non-toxic and has powerful antibacterial properties thanks to a high lauric acid content. It also contains antioxidants, vitamin E and has a pleasant taste.
Oil pulling Steps:
- Take a tablespoon of coconut oil into your mouth (it’s easier if the oil is room temperature and liquid already otherwise the texture might be difficult for some people to handle).
- Swish the coconut oil around in your mouth for 15 minutes. You don’t need to swish aggressively like you would with a regular mouthwash, just move it around gently so your jaw doesn’t get stiff.
- After 15 minutes is up, sit out the oil and rinse your mouth. You can then brush your teeth as you normally would, after which any oil residue should be gone.
It’s recommended to spit the oil into a Kleenex and then dispose of it in the trash because the fat contained in the oil can clog your drainpipes over time. It’s also best to do the oil pulling routine in the morning on an empty stomach. Swishing while bathing or in the shower is a great way to save time and incorporate it into your daily routine. Don’t swallow the oil or you’ll be ingesting the bacteria and toxins you’re trying to remove.
What are the Oral Health Benefits of Oil Pulling?
For the health of your mouth specifically, the oil will sweep away the harmful bacteria on your teeth and in your mouth, dissolving them into the oil before they harden into plaque. The process should be done everyday for at least two weeks to significantly reduce the bacteria count in your mouth.
The oral health benefits derived from oil pulling include whiter teeth, improved breath, stronger teeth, healthier gums and even cavity and gingivitis prevention. Notably, oil pulling has shown the ability to improve jaw pain in TMJ sufferers, as well as help sinus problems and sleep issues. On a side note, it can also be effective against skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It can even rid you of a hangover.
Oil Pulling Reduces the Number of Harmful Bacteria in Your Mouth
One of the main types of plaque causing bacteria found in your mouth is called streptococcus mutans. This bacterium will eventually lead to significant plaque build-up, gingivitis, and serious periodontal issues.
A study showed that daily oil pulling significantly decreased the number of these bacteria within a two-week timeframe when compared to the same process using distilled water. It has also been shown that oil pulling with coconut oil had the same effectiveness at reducing bacteria as a regular chlorhexidine mouthwash.
Reducing Plaque and Fighting Gingivitis with Oil Pulling
Plaque build-up can lead to gingivitis which will cause your gums to become inflamed and bleed as your body’s immune system begins attacking the bacteria in the plaque. Daily oil pulling with coconut oil has been shown to reduce the bacteria and stop gingivitis in its tracks. Normally, a chlorhexidine mouthwash from your dentist would be used to combat bacteria growth causing gingivitis but oil pulling is a natural remedy that can be effective as well.
Oil Pulling Can Help You Get Rid of Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Bad breath odor is caused by chemicals and gases being produced by bacteria in your mouth — gross! It’s simple, reduce the bacteria (through oil pulling in this case) and your breath will get better.
Does Oil Pulling Help Whiten My Teeth?
This is a common question that people ask regarding the benefits of oil pulling. Many people have reported significant improvements in the whiteness of their teeth after beginning an oil pulling regiment, but there haven’t been any (to our knowledge) scientific studies conducted on the subject.
Oil pulling can certainly work as a stain preventer by keeping harmful bacteria at bay, and it can potentially also draw surface stains from your tooth enamel. Oil pulling has no dangerous side effects so there’s no harm in giving it a try. Will it be able to replicate the immediate effects of choosing a dentist for teeth whitening? Likely not, but over time you’ll probably see an improvement in the brightness of your teeth as well as your overall oral health.
Oil pulling is more than just a new health trend that will fade away in due time. It has already been a part of Indian natural medicine for many centuries, and it’s shown to provide amazing health benefits for the entire body, not just your mouth.
Best of all, it’s a natural process without harmful side effects, so there is no risk in trying it out for yourself to see if you realize any of its reported benefits. Give it a try and let us know how you make out in the comments section below.