Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic procedure. It is highly beneficial for your health, especially oral health. Simply put, it involves using a vegetable oil as a mouthwash to pull out bacteria and toxins, and dissolve them in the liquid. When you finally spit out the oil, all the bacteria and toxins go with it into the trash!
It’s important to get rid of toxins because the body responds to the accumulation of toxins and other foreign invaders with inflammation, allergic reactions and other symptoms, thus overburdening the immune system.
Removing toxins helps reduce inflammation throughout your body and positively affects every aspect of your health, ranging from headaches to heart disease.
A lot of people swear by this traditional Ayurvedic remedy, although there have been only a few scientific studies that support it. Nevertheless, this therapy is gaining popularity as it is inexpensive, harmless and easy-to-follow.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is excellent for oral health as it draws out bacteria and removes plaque, thus treating issues like bad breath, toothache, sensitivity and gum disease. It will also help brighten your teeth, heal mouth sores, prevent cavities and keep your gums healthy.
A 2013 Indian study analyzed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Meenakshi University found this therapy to have a significant effect on plaque and gingivitis in participants suffering from plaque-induced gingivitis.
Scientists explain that the microorganisms in the mouth consist of a single cell that is covered with a fatty membrane. When they come in contact with oil, which is also a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.
Oral health is essential for overall health as well because certain diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease are linked with gum disease.
Studies suggest that germs from advanced gum disease or periodontal disease may enter the bloodstream, attach to the fatty plaques in arteries and contribute to the formation of clots that restrict blood flow and may lead to a heart attack.
Similarly, clogged arteries in the brain may lead to a stroke. Gum disease may also have an adverse effect on blood-sugar levels, making it harder to control diabetes.
Moreover, as already mentioned, oil pulling helps pull out bacteria and toxins, in turn reducing inflammation throughout your body and preventing the domino effect of chronic inflammation undermining your health.
There are several other health benefits as well, but the exact reason as to why or how it works in such cases is still not known.
In addition to the oral health benefits, here are some other health benefits of oil pulling.
- Relieves headaches and migraines
- Reduces eczema
- Treats arthritis and related illnesses
- Clears sinuses and reduces infections
- Improves the lymphatic system
- Stimulates metabolism
- Prevents heart disease
- Supports kidney function
- Alleviates allergies
- Regulates menstrual cycles and reduces PMS
- Promotes better sleep
Although oil pulling can benefit your health immensely, keep in mind that serious ailments require proper diagnosis and treatment. So, use it as an adjunct treatment along with the treatment suggested by a qualified healthcare professional.
How to Do Oil Pulling
- Take 1 tablespoon of organic, unrefined, cold-pressed vegetable oil like sunflower oil, sesame oil or any other edible oil. Many people like to use coconut oil as it has several additional health benefits and has strong antimicrobial properties due to its lauric acid content.
- Put the oil in your mouth and swish it around for about 20 minutes. Do NOT gargle with it and do NOT swallow the oil.
- Spit it out and then brush your teeth as usual.
- Do this daily in the morning, on an empty stomach. If you have a dry mouth, you can drink a few glasses of water about an hour or more before doing the procedure.
- If you have trouble swishing around 1 tablespoon of oil in your mouth, you can reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon. Also, you can try for just 5 to 10 minutes a day in the beginning. If you still find the procedure unpleasant, spit out the oil and try it another day.
- Keep swishing the oil in your mouth until it becomes thin, foamy and milky white. You do not need to swish it forcefully though, as it may cause your face muscles to ache.
- Do not swallow the oil. It is loaded with toxins.
- When you spit out the oil, make sure to spit it in a trash can rather than a sink as it can clog the drain. This is particularly important when using coconut oil that will solidify.
- After spitting out the oil, you may rinse your mouth with warm salt water and then brush your teeth.
- When you get used to this remedy, you can do it up to three times a day—before your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Doing oil pulling after eating anything may cause nausea.
- It can be done by anyone older than age five.
- To get positive results, use this remedy on a regular basis, at least for a few months.