Oil Pulling - What is it? and Why do it?
The Oral Health Epidemic
An estimated 80% of disease symptoms are caused by problems in the mouth, and millions are exposed to disease-promoting dental procedures every day! Oral health is one of the most overlooked health issues in conventional and integrative medicine, yet experts claim that…
- It’s possible to reverse cancer by properly eliminating oral infections
- 90% of all heart attacks are caused by oral pathogens
- Autoimmune disorders can be resolved by getting rid of toxic dental materials
- Reversing gum disease can help you get rid of digestive problems
- Root canal procedures increase your risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases
Growing Popularity of Oil Pulling
It has taken a long time, but oil pulling has finally gained some popularity in the U.S. Could it be one of the lost keys to abundant life health? I can't say I'm totally convinced yet but there seems to be quite a bit positive information out there on it so I believe it's worth a try. What have you got to loose really? No harm in trying this one.
Used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is a fantastic oral detoxification procedure that is simply done by swishing a tablespoon of quality oil (such as organic coconut oil) in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. This unbelievably effective procedure has been used for centuries as a traditional Indian folk remedy to cure and prevent bad breath, bleeding gums, cracked lips, throat dryness and tooth decay in addition to strengthening gums, jaws and teeth. In fact, oil pulling is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhitawhere where it is claimed to cure about 30 systemic diseases ranging from headaches and migraine to diabetes and asthma.
Oil Pulling Research
As stated by one study, “The myth that the effect of oil-pulling therapy on oral health was just a placebo effect has been broken and there are clear indications of possible saponification and emulsification process, which enhances its mechanical cleaning action.” (1)
In other words, oil pulling works by cleaning (detoxifying) the oral cavity in a similar way that soap cleans dirty dishes. It literally sucks out the fat-soluble toxins out of your mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic oral environment that contributes to the proper flow of dental liquid that is needed to prevent cavities and disease. It also lowers the acid environment in the mouth which is necessary for decay to proliferate.
These 3 studies help explain the efficacy of this ancient oral health procedure in a little more detail:
- In 2008, the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventative Dentistrypublished a triple-blind random control trial that evaluated the effects oil pulling with sesame oil has on Steptococcus mutans bacterial count in plaque and saliva. Twenty boys were recruited to be part of two groups; one in which 10 practiced oil pulling and another that used chlorhexidine mouthwash, the active ingredient in most anti-cavity mouthwash, for 10 minutes every day in the morning. After collecting samples for 2 weeks, it was discovered that, even though chlorhexidine was more effective in reducing the bacteria, oil pulling was significantly effective in killing S. mutans, one of the primary causes of cavities. (2)
- In 2011, the same journal shared the results of a similar study that evaluated the effects oil pulling has on halitosis (bad breath) and microorganisms that cause bad breath. Again, taking 20 young volunteers, the results of this study were even more in favor of oil pulling than the one above. According to the authors, “Oil pulling therapy has been equally effective like chlorhexidine on halitosis and organisms, associated with halitosis.” Additionally, the researchers discovered that oil pulling also has statistically significant effects on reducing the gingival index, a marker that determines the severity for gingivitis. (3)
- There was also a study done concerning "Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study" which concluded that "The oil pulling therapy showed a reduction in the plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis." This means Oil Pulling can be a good option for those who cannot brush due to oral mouth sores, gagging reflexes or other indications for non-brushing. (4)
Other oil therapies are suggested by researchers to foster oral health, as well. According to Singh, “Ayurveda advises oil gargling to purify the entire system; as it holds that each section of the tongue is connected to different organ such as to the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine, similarly to reflexology.”
The Best Way To Oil Pull
To help detox and keep your smile bright and shining, mix EO with unrefined, organic coconut oil. Here are some tips:
- Like most other detoxification procedures, the best time to oil pull is first thing in the morning right after you get out of bed. It can also be done at night to lower oral acidity if you have a high decay rate. Lowering oral acid before bedtime is important since there is no other fluid being taken in during the night that would dilute the oral acids.
- All you do is swish between 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. Easy!
- Time will fly and you may not even notice 20 minutes have gone by if you do this during your normal morning routine (i.e. while you shower, put your clothes on and prep for the day).
- Immediately afterwards, rinse your mouth out with warm water. Use salt water for added antimicrobial properties.
- Be sure NOT to swallow the oil. It is filled with bacteria and toxins from your mouth!
- Don’t spit out the oil in the sink, because it WILL coagulate and clog your drains!
- Don’t be shocked if the oil/saliva mixture you spit out is milky white or yellow.
- Finally, brush your teeth as normal.
- Oil Pulling is recommended oil 3-4x per week.
Note: This should be a relatively relaxing process, so don’t think that you need to swish your mouth with oil for the entire time or else you’re bound to wear out your jaw muscles. Simply move the oil in your mouth and through your teeth without swallowing any of it. It may take a few times to get used to the oil feel in your mouth so try to stick with it until then.
Adding Essential Oils
Essential oils carry some of the most potent antibacterial and anti-fungal properties on the planet, so they can only help, right? Plus, as the essential oils get absorbed by the oral mucosa, the body will enjoy their antioxidant and medicinal powers. Plus, because the oil pulling oil acts as a carrier oil, you shouldn't experience any burning effects of using some of the more potent oils like clove.
Here are a few ways to use essential oils during morning oil pulling routine:
- Add 1 drop each of clove, orange, lemon and peppermint with 1 – 2 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- If you’re battling an infection or something, you can change it up and mix clove with oregano and tea tree as a homeopathic remedy.
- Oils from herbs such as cilantro, basil and thyme are also very pleasant.
- Frankincense and myrrh is a sacred mixture.
At the end of the day, you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain from oil pulling. There are relatively no known side effects and, as we’ve seen in the research, the list of benefits is quite remarkable. Try it today and make it a part of your natural hygiene routine!