Healthy mind and body begin with a healthy mouth. In Ayurveda, it is believed that your oral health determines your overall health and wellness. Oil pulling is an important aspect of Ayurvedic health routine and can help support and maintain good health.
In this blog post, we will describe the practice of oil pulling and everything from its origin to its benefits and lots more.
What is Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing oil in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. This practice of doing so helps remove ama (toxin) from your body, leading to better oral and general health. This technique has become increasingly popular over the years and formed an ongoing health trend with added awareness.
Let's learn more about oil pulling and its benefits
History of Oil Pulling
Oil pulling as a part of Ayurvedic medicine originated in India around 3000 years ago. Ayurvedic practitioners used oil pulling for treating oral issues and for strengthening gums, teeth and jaws. The oral health practices of Ayurveda include chewing on neem sticks(datun)and eating herbs, as well as oil pulling. Ancient practitioners of oil pulling used sunflower and sesame oils as a way to prevent bleeding gums, decay, dryness of throat, oral malodour(halitosis), cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and jaw. In Gandusha and Kavala Graha are traditional pulling practices. In Gandusha the mouth is filled with oil, which is held in the mouth for three to five minutes and then spit out. In Kavala Graha, only a comfortable amount of oil is placed in the mouth, held inside of the mouth for three minutes, gargled and spat out. Ayurvedic texts also suggest oil pulling as a way to address many health problems, including diabetes, asthma and migraines.
A study conducted on oil pulling has revealed that the benefits of the technique go beyond oral health. Traditional oil pulling has the potential to improve both oral and general health.
Backed by Science
Essentially in oil pulling, the oil is used as a mouthwash and by doing so, it helps remove toxins from your mouth. The oil has anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce inflammation and bacteria and promotes oral health. The oil acts like a magnet and helps remove various hidden bacteria in your mouth that sticks to oil and gets flushed out due to its lipid-like outer covering. Water alone does not remove these toxins. By swishing the oil in your mouth, it reaches areas where your toothbrush often misses.
During oil pulling, one will experience an incredible detergent-like effect that results in washing away and removal of harmful bacteria and plaque from your mouth. This procedure also creates a protective barrier between your bloodstream and further bacterial exposure.
Oil pulling also has the benefit of giving you a facial workout that releases tension around your jaw. It also helps to maintain natural flora and a healthy pH in your mouth. It is an excellent healthy alternative to using mouthwashes that contain toxic chemicals. Oil pulling is a powerful detoxifying Ayurvedic technique that has recently become very popular as an alternative medicine remedy for many different health ailments. Using this method, surgery or medication could be prevented for several chronic illnesses. The oil therapy is preventative as well as curative. The exciting aspect of this healing method is its simplicity. Ayurveda advises oil gargling to purify the entire system; as it holds that each section of the tongue is connected to different organs such as to the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine, similarly to reflexology
Which oil to use for oil pulling?
Some of the more commonly recommended oils for pulling are olive oil, coconut oil and sesame oil. Some of the benefits of these options include the following:
Olive oil has anti-viral properties.
Coconut oil can significantly reduce bacterial growth in your mouth.
Sesame oil contains vitamin E and antioxidants
The best oil for oil pulling
Coconut oil is believed to be very effective for oil pulling. It is the most favourable because it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is the antimicrobial agent that kills bacteria and thereby reduces bad breath and maintains the pH in your mouth.
Be sure to only use cold-pressed organic coconut oil to gain the maximum benefit from the process.
How to Oil Pull
Oil pulling should ideally be performed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
A tablespoon coconut oil swished between the teeth for approximately 15-20 min and spat out.
Note: If you are just starting, 5-8 mins is a reasonable swishing time. Swishing the oil for the recommended duration in the oral cavity changes the viscosity of the oil, which turns milky white with a thin consistency. You must not swallow the oil as it may have toxins and bacteria, which are harmful to general health. This should be followed by rinsing, brushing and tongue scraping, preferably a copper tongue cleaner due to coppers anti-microbial properties. The practice should preferably be performed 3 times daily for acute diseases. It is a relatively safe practice for children over 6-7 years of age, once a day.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
oil pulling is an ancient practice has known to help people overcome many health problems including asthma, arthritis, migraine headaches, hormonal imbalances, infections, skin problems and many others. The process of oil pulling removes toxins and bacteria from the mouth as well as from your lymphatic system. It also removes congestion and mucus from the throat and loosens the sinuses.
Some health benefits include:
1.Can Kill Harmful Bacteria in Your Mouth
There are approximately 700 types of bacteria that can live in your mouth, and up to 350 of them may be found in your mouth at any given time. These harmful bacteria present in your mouth can lead to cavities, gum disease and bad breath. Several studies have shown that oil pulling could help reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
2. Reduces Bad Breath
Halitosis, also known as bad breath, is a condition that affects an estimated 50% of the population. There are many potential causes of bad breath.
Some of the most common include infection, gum disease, poor oral hygiene and tongue coating, which is when bacteria become trapped on the tongue.
Though more research is needed, oil pulling may be used as a natural alternative to reduce bad breath and could be as effective as traditional treatments.
According to a study conducted, oil pulling works equally well with chlorhexidine mouthwash and is an effective remedy for halitosis. However chlorhexidine is not along with term solution, in fact, the alcohol level can cause other oral decays with prolonged use.
3. Helps Prevent Cavities and whitens your teeth
Plaque can also cause cavities. Plaque forms a coating on teeth and is comprised of bacteria, saliva and food particles. The bacteria begin to break down the food particles, forming an acid that destroys tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.
Several studies have found that oil pulling can help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth, preventing tooth decay.
Some research has found that oil pulling may decrease the number of harmful bacteria found in saliva and plaque as effectively as a mouthwash.
Decreasing these strains of bacteria through oil pulling could help prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of cavity formation.
4. Reduces Inflammation and Improve Gum Health
Oral health is directly connected to your general wellbeing. The harmful bacteria in your mouth can be the reason for poor health conditions. Gingivitis is a type of gum disease marked by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. The bacteria found in plaque are a major cause of gingivitis, as they can cause bleeding and inflammation in the gums. It works primarily by decreasing the harmful bacteria and plaque in the mouth that contribute to gum disease, such as Streptococcus mutans. Using coconut oil may also help by reducing the inflammation associated with gum disease.
5. Relieves Respiratory Problems
Oil pulling can also help reduce symptoms of respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and congestion. Oil pulling can relieve congestion quickly and help clear your sinuses.
6. Restores Hormonal Balance
It helps to remove toxins from the body and accordingly, oil pulling can help with thyroid disorders and with maintaining the regular menstrual cycle.
7. Helps to Treat Insomnia
Oil pulling clears out all these toxins from your body and creates a healthy environment for a restful sleep.
8. Reduces Migraines and Headaches
Headaches commonly result from toxins present in your body. Oil pulling removes harmful microorganisms and toxins which helps reduce headaches and migraines.
9. Supports the Immune System
Oil pulling keeps bacteria, toxins and infections away from your body, which contributes to stronger immunity.
10. Boosts Metabolism
Oil pulling along with scraping with a tongue cleaner can be helpful for your internal organs such as your liver, kidney and heart. Oil pulling may help reduce fluid retention and bloating, thus enhancing metabolism.
Side effects or warnings
It is a relatively safe process to follow regularly, no noted side effects as such.
Oil pulling therapy can be done by a wide range of age groups and ailments, from children to pregnant women and other high-risk categories.
Only noted mild side effects in some rare cases may be dizziness, sore jaw (due to swishing), indigestion or heartburn.
Please ensure you are not allergic to any oil you may wish to use for the therapy.
You must never swallow the oil as it will be heavily loaded with toxins and bad bacteria, which may cause vomiting or diarrhoea,
As discussed in the text above, healthy mouth leads to your overall health and general wellbeing. Oil pulling is an important aspect of Ayurvedic health routines and can help support and maintain good health. Extensive research on the role of this traditional, cheap and valuable remedy should be encouraged without bias. Based on currently available research it can be concluded that oil pulling when performed as recommended, can be safely used as an adjunct to maintaining good oral hygiene and health along with the routine tooth brushing and flossing with promising positive results.
Oil pulling combined with the use of copper water bottle or a copper vessel and a copper tongue cleaner can also make a great addition and be part of your daily Ayurvedic Oral Ritual. Why copper you may ask? Copper because it has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory properties that can help you bring about a whole new level of health and wellness. Hydration is the key to healthy inside out glow, no better way to drink water and enjoy coppers endless benefits.
Yours in good health