Oil pulling or oil swishing is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing oil around the mouth. Practitioners of oil pulling claim that the method has both oral and systemic health benefits. When practiced on a regular basis, this traditional Indian remedy can whiten teeth, improve gum health, and ward off bad breath. Similar to modern mouthwash, the oil draws toxins and bacteria from the mouth creating a healthier oral environment. If you’re new to the art of oil pulling, you may be wondering if oil pulling is healthy for your teeth. Here is everything you need to know about oil pulling.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling dates back more than 3,000 years. This simple, harmless and inexpensive oral health technique has been practiced in parts of India and southern Asia for centuries. The method involves placing a tablespoon of edible oil into the mouth and swishing (or “pulling”) it around the oral cavity and teeth for as little as one or as long as 20 minutes before spitting it out.
During the oil pulling process, the oil combines with saliva, creating a white, thin liquid. If you go to spit out the oil and it’s not white, you likely haven’t swish long enough. Swishing the liquid around your mouth activates enzymes which draw impurities from the blood. Lipids found in the oil also help to extract toxins from your saliva. After a long swishing session, the oil is filled with toxins. To prevent reabsorbing the bacteria, you should never swallow the oil.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Oil pulling has the ability to transform your health. It acts as an oral cleanser, removing dangerous toxins from the mouth before they have the chance to spread through the body. If you fail to remove these impurities, these toxins act as a poison, increasing your risk of developing inflammation and disease. When impurities are removed from the body, energy levels increase, headaches decrease and the skin is clearer.
Oil pulling not only has health properties, it also has cosmetic benefits. Many oils possess natural antiviral and antibiotic properties that clean and whiten teeth. Oil pulling acts as a natural alternative to chemical-based whiteners, such as whitening strips and gels. Swishing oil in your mouth can also have some other major perks, including a reduction in tooth cavities and the elimination of bad breath. Best of all, you can begin reaping the advantages of oil pulling immediately after swishing.
How to Oil Pull
While oil pulling has irrefutable benefits, not all oils are suitable for swishing. Sesame oil is traditionally used as it has one of the highest level of antibacterial properties and is effective in preventing gingivitis, plaque and tooth decay. Sunflower oil also carries antibacterial properties that help to fight off gingivitis. Today, many people use coconut oil as it has both antibacterial properties and lauric acid which help against fungi and viruses.
Once you’ve chosen an oil, the oil pulling process is simple. Place one to two teaspoons of oil in the mouth. Next, swish for one to 20 minutes. Remember that the longer that you swish, the more toxins you’ll be removing from your mouth. Next, spit the oil into the trash. Avoid spitting into sinks or toilets as the oil can interfere with the plumbing system. Finish up by rinsing with warm water, followed by a thorough teeth brushing.
Is Oil Pulling Healthy?
There has been much controversy regarding the effectiveness of oil pulling. To respond to the common question “Is oil pulling healthy?”, the short answer is yes. This popular oral health technique is harmless and does not cause any ill side effects as long as you adhere to a few simple guidelines. Be sure to swish gently to avoid jaw pain. You also want to make sure that you never swallow the oil, and instead, discard it in the trash.
Another major concern is that some individuals are using oil pulling as a substitute for proper dental care. Oil pulling can be used as a supplement to a healthy dental regimen, but should never replace normal oral care practices. In addition to oil pulling, you should continue brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. You should also continue seeing your dentist at least every six months for a checkup.
Oil pulling is one of the easiest, fastest and most affordable ways to remove harmful bacteria from mouth while promoting healthy teeth and gums. Best of all, it requires no harmful chemicals and is completely natural. If you have yet to try this ancient, yet highly effective practice, experience the plethora of oil pulling benefits for yourself.