Oil pulling has been making headlines and gaining popularity lately as the new oral care miracle, but it's actually an ancient tradition that's been around for thousands of years.
WHAT IS OIL PULLING AND WHY SHOULD WE PRACTICE IT?
An Ayurvedic ritual dating back over 3,000 years, oil pulling involves placing a tablespoon of extra virgin organic cold pressed oil (coconut oil, sesame or olive oil) into the mouth and then swishing it around for 5 to 20 minutes, (pulling it between your teeth), before spitting it out.
This process allows the oil to eliminate bacteria, viruses, fungi, microbes and other debris from the mouth. It cleanses (detoxifies) the oral cavity in a similar way that dishwashing soap cleans dirty dishes, by sticking to the oil-soluble toxins, creating a clean, antiseptic oral environment that contributes to the proper flow of dental liquid that is needed to prevent cavities and disease.
Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in the mouth, and these germs and their toxic waste products can contribute to plaque accumulation and tooth decay. Oil pulling may help lessen the overall toxic load of the immune system by preventing the spread of these organisms from your oral cavity to the rest of the body, through the bloodstream.
1. PROMOTES ORAL HYGIENE
Highly effective at reducing tooth cavities and at eradicating bad breath, by removing the Streptococcus mutant bacteria (a major contributor to tooth decay) as well as other microorganisms. It also helps with plaque-induced gingivitis.
2. WHITENS TEETH
The oil possesses natural antibiotic and antiviral properties that brighten and cleans teeth, keeping them pearly white.
3. DETOXES THE BODY
Germs in the body cause inflammation which leads to disease and illness. The gateway to the body for such contamination is the mouth. Removing the toxins at the source before they get a chance to spread delivers a detox form the inflammation load to the whole body.
4. REDUCES HEADACHES
When the body is under toxic stress, headaches and migraines occur. It is nature’s way of asking for some time out to recover. By reducing bacteria in the body via oil pulling, headaches can be reduced and prevented.
5. KEEPS THE SKIN CLEAR
The benefits even extend to your skin! Removing toxins from the body that would otherwise make it into the bloodstream means the skin has a chance to shine. Rashes and skin issues often reduce dramatically, or even clear up completely, when oil pulling.
OIL PULLING IN HISTORY
Oil pulling originated in India as part of natural healing practices described in ancient Ayurveda texts.Original practitioners of oil pulling used sunflower and sesame oils as a way to prevent bleeding gums, decay, dryness of throat, halitosis, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw.
Why didn’t our ancestors’ teeth decay as much as ours?
They ate real food, often raw and requiring prolonged chewing and didn’t consume processed sugars and grains filled with phytic acid, which destroy tooth enamel. Secondly, they took care of their teeth through natural means, depending on the culture and region of the world, many people oil pulled.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND OIL PULLING
The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, published a study that reviewed holistic approaches to oral health and discovered that oil pulling is one of the most effective natural health solutions known to scientists that prevent tooth decay and loss.
A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research found that when compared with mouthwash, swishing with sesame oil reduced plaque, modified gingival scores, and lowered microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that oil pulling with sesame oil helped in reducing oral malodour and the microbes causing it just as much as using a chlorhexidine treatment.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry found oil pulling to be as effective as chlorhexidine in the treatment of bad breath.
According to researchers from the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in Tamil Nadu, India, oil pulling reduces Streptococcus mutants’ bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay – in the plaque and saliva of children. In the authors’ words, “Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.”
Researchers from the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in Chennai India discovered that, oil pulling can significantly reduced aerobic microorganisms in plaque among children with plaque-induced gingivitis.
Researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology's Bioscience Research Institute in Ireland tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion. The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, common inhabitants of the mouth. They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibits the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including symptoms of streptococcus mutants, an acid-producing bacterium that is considered a major cause of tooth decay.
It is thought the break down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes that it turns into acids, which are toxic to certain bacteria. Enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans. When oil pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, it becomes a powerful tool oral health care tool.
WHY COCONUT OIL IS THE BEST TO USE
Most of the above studies used sesame oil, which however, has relatively high concentration of omega-6 oils. Therefore, coconut oil is far superior, as most of us get far too many omega-6 fats, which distorts the sensitive omega 3:6 ratio. Additionally, coconut oil is far more palatable.
From a mechanical and biophysical perspective, it is likely that both sesame and coconut (and even olive oil) will work. However, coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-viral activity that makes it especially well-suited for oral health. In fact, coconut oil mixed with baking soda research suggests may be a valuable tool for fighting tooth decay.
Coconut oil has been shown to:
Decrease Wrinkles and Age Spots
Balance Blood Sugar and Improve Energy
Increase HDL and Lower LDL Cholesterol
As coconut oil is highly absorbable, you can experience many of these benefits simply by oil pulling!
The downside of using coconut oil, however, is that it becomes a solid below 23.9 C, creating a chunk that is hard to swish around in the mouth, so it needs to be chewed for a few seconds in order to liquify. Alternatively, it can be blended with sesame oil so which will then not allow solidification.
OIL PULLING - HOW TO
Make sure to oil pull first thing in the morning right after you get out of bed before you brush your teeth or drink anything.
Gently swish 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth and between your teeth for 5-20 minutes making sure that you don’t swallow any of the oil. (Do this gently so you don’t want to wear out your jaw and cheeks!)
Spit out the oil in a cup (not the sink so it doesn’t clog up the plumbing, as it solidifies from the cold water) and immediately rinse your mouth out with warm water (use salt and/or baking soda water for added antimicrobial properties).
Finally, brush your teeth as normal.
It is recommend to do oil pulling 2-3 times per week. Try it and share with us what benefits you have noticed?
Results may individually vary. Information and statements made in articles of The Health Coach Blog are for education purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. The Health Coach does not provide medical advice, prescribe medication and treatment plans, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by The Health Coach are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. Should you have a medical condition or health concern, consult your physician.