Oil Pulling: An Ancient Mouth Cleansing Technique
What exactly is Oil Pulling?
Here’s a little historical background on the ancient technique of Oil Pulling:
Oil pulling, as we know it today, originated in ancient India- dating back to 3000 to 5000 years ago- as an Ayurvedic method for “purifying” the body by “pulling” contaminants out through the gums and mouth using oil as adsorption (pulling) medium. It is an ancient, Indian home remedy that claims not just to whiten your teeth but also freshen your breath, all while significantly improving your oral health. Back in the olden days, when toothbrushes and toothpaste were yet to be invented, people often practiced Oil Pulling to maintain their oral health and hygiene. Kavala Graha and Gandusha are two methods of oil pulling that have been used traditionally. A small amount of oil is put in the mouth and swished around for three minutes before being gargled and extracted in Kavala Graha. Gandusha involves filling the mouth with oil (more so than Kavala Graha) and swishing it around for three to five minutes before being spat out.
How does Oil Pulling work: A step-by-step guide?
Step 1: Take 1-2 tablespoons of oil (according to your like but preferably coconut oil).
Step 2: Swish it around in your mouth for approximately 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: Once done, spit the oil out and brush your teeth.
It’s best to spit out the oil onto a piece of paper and discard it; otherwise, the fat could clog your pipes over time. There is no need to exert excessive force. Relax a little if oil pulling triggers discomfort in your facial muscles. Next time, use less oil and don’t swish it around too vigorously. Some people believe that oil pulling should be done on an empty stomach before brushing your teeth. Many people do it in the morning while showering or bathing.
Why use coconut oil for Oil Pulling?
- Oil pulling can be done with any oil, but extra-virgin coconut oil is a standard option because of its goodflavor.
- It also has a good fatty acid profile, with many lauric acids, which have antibacterial properties.
- Pulling your teeth with coconut oil will help to reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth.
- Streptococcusmutansis a type of bacteria found in your mouth that plays a role in plaque formation and tooth decay.
- When compared to distilled water, oil pulling with coconut oil for 10 minutes per day decreased S. mutants in saliva in as little as two weeks in a study of 60 adults.
- Another study in children concluded that coconut oil was as effective as a standard chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducingS. mutants
If not coconut oil, which other oil can you use for Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is done with a variety of oils, including palm, olive, and sesame. Coconut oil is the most common oil for oil pulling, but it does have one drawback: it solidifies at temperatures above 76 degrees F. Every month, however, is much hotter than that. When you first put the oil in your mouth, it will be solid, but it will soften into a liquid within seconds. Some practitioners of oil pulling like to mix Coconut oil with sunflower and sesame oil to help it remain a liquid.
Advantages of Oil Pulling:
- Oil Pulling can eliminate bad breath:
Oil pulling with sesame oil substantially decreased all indicators of bad breath and was as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash in a study of 20 adolescents. More research is needed to see if oil pulling with coconut oil has similar halitosis benefits. However, given that it may help minimize plaque and gingivitis, it appears to be a possibility.
- The key advantage is that it lowers the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. In your mouth, there are hundreds of different forms of bacteria. Although many of them are friendly, there are a few who are not. The bacteria in your mouth form a biofilm on your teeth called plaque, a thin layer of bacteria. Plaque on your teeth is terrific, but if it becomes excessive, it can lead to various issues, including bad breath, gum irritation, gingivitis, and cavities.
- Oil pulling works: bacteria are washed away and dissolve in the liquid oil as you swish the fat around your mouth.
- Oil pulling with coconut oil may also help reduce inflammation of the gums, which is also known as gingivitis.
Disadvantages of Oil Pulling:
- Oil pulling is unlikely to cause any serious risks or side effects on its own. However, after watching online videos or reading posts, some people can become so persuaded of its efficacy that they abandon well-established dental hygiene practices and products in favor of oil pulling. This is where the most issues are most likely to occur.
- Another possible source of danger with oil pulling is the oils themselves. There should be no issues with pure oils. On the other hand, some oil pullers purchase their oils from Ayurvedic health stores that import them from the Far East and other emerging or unregulated countries.
- Finally, if these oils are mistakenly absorbed into the lungs during an oil pulling session, they may cause lipoid pneumonia, which is admittedly a somewhat unlikely occurrence. So, if you ever intend to try oil pulling, make sure you don’t ingest any of the oil into your lungs (this should not happen under ordinary circumstances).
A technique has its own advantages and limitations. Oil Pulling was an ancient technique and was said to be a proven technique. This technique is now coming into limelight due to the use of naturally sourced ingredients like coconut oil. There is no harm in trying out the Oil Pulling method for mouth cleaning. If it works for you, there’s nothing like it!