Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action supposedly draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health.
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Harmful Bacteria in The Mouth
Streptococcus Mutans is one of the main bacteria in the mouth and a key player in plaque buildup and tooth decay.
In a study from 2008 with 20 boys, oil pulling (using sesame oil) caused a reduction in the number of Streptococcus Mutans in the plaque in as little as 2 weeks . It was not as effective as a Chlorhexidine mouthwash, but much cheaper and MUCH less nasty.
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Plaque and Gingivitis
Gingivitis is caused by inflammation of the gums and happens when the immune system starts attacking the bacteria in the plaque.
Another study compared oil pulling and chlorhexidine in adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis. Both oil pulling and chlorhexidine mouthwash were effective against gingivitis.
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Bad Breath
Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is in many cases (not all) caused by the smell of chemicals and gases produced by bacteria in the mouth.
It makes sense that if you get rid of some of these bacteria, you reduce bad breath.
In a third study of 20 adolescents, oil pulling therapy significantly reduced all markers for bad breath and was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash
How to Oil Pull
Oil pulling is incredibly simple and effective.
Here’s how to do it:
Put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth. Swish the oil around your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. Spit out the oil, then brush your teeth. If you use coconut oil like me, then you may have to chew on the oil for a minute or so to
let it melt, because it is solid at room temperature.
It is best to do this on an empty stomach, before you brush your teeth. I prefer to do it while I take a shower in the morning.
I put the oil in my mouth, swish it around while in the shower and try to “push” and “pull” the oil between my teeth.
When I get out of the shower I spit out the oil into the trash or toilet (not the sink… it can clog), rinse my mouth with water and then brush my teeth.
There is no need to use a lot of force here, if oil pulling causes pain in your facial muscles then just relax a bit. Try using less oil next time and don’t swish it around too forcefully.
Who can go for it?
Everybody above the age of five years can practice this (children who can hold the oil in the mouth without swallowing it). People with dentures should remove them before sipping the oil. Woman can practice oil pulling even during pregnancy. (Read: Hormones and Women’s oral
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