What is Oil Pulling?
Oil Pulling is swishing oil in your mouth for up to twenty minutes and then spitting it out into the trash. The oil is typically one tablespoon of edible oils such as coconut, sesame or sunflower oil. The oil should be anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Coconut oil is a very popular choice.
Oil Pulling is part of traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Some people believe oil pulling helps with dental care and removes the bacteria causing bad breath. Others believe oil pulling can remove toxins from the entire body and even heal some diseases and medical conditions. According to a review in The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Ayurvedic practitioners claim oil pulling can cure 30 different diseases.
Oil Pulling and Dental Health
The American Dental Association states there is not enough research to support the practice of oil pulling. But many people feel oil pulling has whitened their teeth, reduced gum inflammation, heal bleeding gums, removed harmful bacteria, and reduced bad breath. A study conducted in 2012 revealed how coconut oil is capable of fighting tooth decay, measles, and flu.
I personally found oil pulling for a few minutes each day does make my mouth feel cleaner and my teeth look better without harsh whitening products. Sensitive teeth and gums do seem more comfortable. Oil pulling may help reduce tartar formation in hard-to-reach areas of teeth.
I also find oil pulling removes some stubborn teeth debris that I might have missed with brushing or flossing. Oil pulling is not a substitute for regular toothbrushing, flossing, or traditional dental care. For those who dislike using chemical mouthwashes, oil pulling is an option.
The contents of sesame oil are considered particularly helpful for removing the bacteria that cause bad breath. While studies do not yet correlate overall health being improved by oil pulling, oral health has been associated with our general health, and keeping the mouth free of bacteria is an important step.
A combination of sesame oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil can provide a wider range of benefits. Adding a drop of essential oil such as Tea Tree can add anti-bacterial benefits, or Spearmint can improve the fresh taste. There are pre-made oil pulling preparations such as Desert Essence Coconut Oil Dual Phase Pulling Rinse, that taste good and have all the health benefits of traditional oils for pulling.
More research is needed to determine if oil pulling has scientific merit.
How to do Oil Pulling
- Ideally in the morning before coffee or eating, use one tablespoon coconut oil and gently swish in your mouth for up to twenty minutes. Start with only a few minutes if that is all you can tolerate. Some people like to add a drop or two of essential oil to their oil pulling. This can increase the bad breath fighting properties.
- Spit out the oil into the trash (not the sink, it will clog pipes!).
- Rinse your mouth with warm water (salt water if you wish)
- Brush your teeth like normal
Oil pulling can be done any time of day if you don’t have enough time in the mornings.