You have either arrived on this blog post because you want to learn more about oil pulling or because you haven't heard of it and were wondering what on Earth is this girl (me) talking about?
In any case this article will open your eyes to a very interesting technique of oral care which will not just help you maintain and improve your dental health (2) but also your health overall. Interested? Let's get into it.
Oil pulling is actually an ancient Ayurvedic technique that is part of the overall oral care. During the oil pulling, one performs oral detoxification by swishing a tsp or tbsp of vegetable oil (sesame, sunflower, olive or coconut oil) in the mouth between 10 to 20 minutes. Usually, this is performed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, followed by rinsing with salt water and toothbrushing (1). It is advised that the oil is not spit into the sink as it can cause clogging of the pipes but instead should be spit into a trashcan or a paper towel (5).
In Ayurveda, it is believed that tongue is connected to various organs of our body such as kidneys, heart, lungs, small intestine, spine, etc. Thus by excreting toxic heavy metals, oil pulling helps absorb the chemical toxins from the blood and the body through tongue and as a result purifying our whole body (5).
After 5 minutes of oil pulling, oil removes plaque building bacteria that is responsible for dental caries, gingivitis and periodontitis (5). Oil pulling helps improve the health of gums and resolve symptoms of dry throat & mouth (5) and is as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath (3,7). It is being used to prevent tooth decay, bleeding gums, cracked lips and to strengthen teeth, gums and jaw (6). After two weeks of daily practice you should start noticing whiter teeth, fresher breath and a better oral hygiene overall (5).
Oil pulling benefits are not limited to just oral health but it is also supposed to improve longevity in human beings by increasing the metabolism of the body, heal the cells, tissues and organs of the body (5). According to Ayurveda, oil pulling can be used to prevent more than 30 diseases which include headaches and migraines, thrombosis, diabetes and asthma (7).
The most popular oils used for oil pulling are sesame, sunflower, olive and coconut oil. These oils are preferred as they help the lymphatic system of the body, which is an important part of our immune system, by removing harmful bacteria and helping the beneficial microflora to flourish.
Sesame oil - This is the most commonly oil used for oil pulling in India due to its taste and also health benefits. Sesame oil contains three lignans, a diverse group of plant-derived compounds that have antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, and displays antihypertensive activity (5).
Sunflower oil - Sunflower oil has been observed that after a period of forty five days, it decreases plaque and gingivitis (5).
Olive oil - Olive oil contains antimicrobial, immunomodulatory and antioxidative components such as monounsaturated fatty acids with oleic acid, vitamin A, E and K, and is considered to prevent oral malodour.
Coconut oil - Coconut oil decreases plaque as a result of its lauric acid content, benefiting oral health as well as the whole body health (4,5).
1. Measure 1tsp to 2 tbsp of oil, making sure you have enough to swish in your mouth and put it in your mouth.
2. Swish the oil around your mouth and between your teeth between 5 and 20 minutes. Be careful not to swallow since it contains toxins from your mouth.
3. When you're ready spit the liquid into a glass or a paper towel to dispose in the trash. The contaminated oil can clog the pipes, so do not spit it in the sink.
4. Rinse your mouth with salt water to ensure that the oil is out of your mouth.
5. Brush your teeth to kill any remnants from bacteria.
6. Smile to yourself.
Do you do oil pulling or are you going to give this a try? Let me know in the comment sections below.