Have you heard of Oil Pulling? Lately it seems like everyone is talking up this traditional Ayurvedic practice of Oil Pulling for a healthy mouth. Originally sesame oil or sunflower oil was used as a “mouth wash” to improve teeth and gum health.
The more I learn about Ayurvedic medicine, the more amazed I become by the ancient medical wisdom from the Indian subcontinent. Although the practice of oil pulling is thousands of years old, it has only gotten the attention of the Western world in the past 20-30 years.
At first considered a “new age” practice in the West, scientific studies have recently begun to prove some of the following health benefits:
What Are Some Benefits of Oil Pulling?
- Reduction of bacteria in the mouth
- Reduction of plaque and gingivitis
- Reduction of bad breath
- Prevention of tooth decay
- Teeth Whitener
- Overall immune-boosting properties beneficial to a variety of ailments
So How Does Oil Pulling Work?
Since oil is not soluble in water (saliva), swishing oil around in your mouth acts similar to soap, like a solvent or cleaner. And with a higher viscosity than water, it gets into all the nooks and crannies of your mouth. The oil attracts bacteria and toxins “pulling” them out of your gums and off your teeth.
Although Ayurvedic medicine traditionally used Sesame oil or Sunflower oil, Coconut oil has recently become popular for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s really a matter of personal preference, so see which one tastes best to you.
Are you intrigued? Follow these easy steps to a healthier mouth…
How to Oil Pull
- Start your Oil Pulling first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth.
- Use a Tablespoon of Oil (Coconut, Sesame, or Sunflower) — organic, unrefined, or cold pressed oils will provide the most health benefits. Coconut oil may initially be solid but it will quickly melt in your mouth.
- Put the oil into your mouth and start to swish it around like mouthwash. Start by swishing for 10 minutes and eventually build up to 20 minutes. Because you’re swishing for a longer amount of time, you don’t need to be as vigorous as you might be with mouthwash. Just slowly swish it around, “pulling” it through your teeth like you used to do with Jello as a kid!
- It may make you salivate and increase the amount of liquid in your mouth. If it gets to be too much, spit it out, don’t swallow it as the oil will be full of bacteria and toxins.
- IMPORTANT: Be sure to spit it out into the garbage can, NOT into the sink or toilet, as the oil can clog the sink/toilet. Unless you live on a boat like I do, then feel free to spit into the toilet to “lube your head”.
- Rinse your mouth out with warm water.
- Use a tongue scraper to scrape your tongue, then brush your teeth.
After Oil Pulling for about 30-45 days, you should start to notice whiter teeth, as well as an improvement in your gums and breath. Please leave a comment to let me know how it goes. Happy Oil Pulling!
2 Responses to “Oil Pulling for a Healthy Mouth”
Very cool. Yea, I’ve noticed that oil tends to dissolve plaque and calculus. I’m glad to see this info published. I have used Plax or similar for years. its been debunked as having no benefit, however, the glycerine in it is similar to oil in that it puts plaque into solution, like oil.
Now that I’m full-on Paleo I’m planning on the other benefits described in your article. I wonder if it’s too late for this old brain, however (Ha,Ha).
You do good work. Keep it up!
Dr. Bob, thanks so much for commenting on this post on Oil Pulling. Coming from my dentist, this means a lot to me! 🙂