Oil pulling is an age-old Ayurvedic remedy that is getting a lot of attention these days as more and more people become health conscious. This Ayurvedic remedy is known as a detoxification procedure that keeps your teeth and mouth healthy. Although there are not that many formal scientific studies to support the fact that oil pulling is good for oral health, many sources agree that the method is definitely an effective treatment for curing tooth decay, killing bad breath, and healing a wide variety of other ailments such as acne, dry throat, and inflammation. The benefits of coconut oil pulling are immense, in fact. Because coconut oil is highly absorbable, it detoxifies your mouth completely.
What is oil pulling?
Oil pulling for teeth is a traditional folk remedy where oil (usually coconut, sunflower, or sesame) is swished around and held in the mouth for about 20 minutes. This regimen, which should be performed on an empty stomach, is best known for improving oral health. However, oil pulling is not only associated with improving your teeth, gums, and mouth, but also with several other benefits besides those related to oral health.
This ancient Ayurvedic dental technique is also known as "kavala" or "gundusha”. While this practice was started thousands of years ago in India, it was first introduced to the United States by a medical doctor named Dr. F. Karach in the early 1990's. He used it successfully in his medical career. Oil pulling is quite a trend nowadays, and more and more people are gradually realizing its benefits.
But does oil pulling work? It definitely does. Oil pulling for teeth is based on the principle of “like dissolves like”. When oil is held in the mouth, plaque and toxins are removed without upsetting the teeth or gums. Just like soap cleans dirty dishes, oil cleans and detoxifies the oral cavity to give you healthier, brighter teeth. It also creates a clean, antiseptic oral environment that promotes the proper flow of saliva, which is required to prevent cavities and other dental diseases.
How is oil pulling done?
Upon waking up in the morning, oil pulling should be the first thing on your mind. The remedy should be done on an empty stomach, so make sure not to eat anything before performing the procedure. Don’t even brush your teeth. You can use any organic virgin oil such as coconut oil, sesame oil, or sunflower oil for oil pulling. Keep your kitchen stocked with any of these.
Measure out 1 tablespoon of the oil and take it into your mouth. Then, slowly swish the oil around your mouth for about 10 to 15 minutes. Do this gently, not vigorously. The oil will thoroughly get mixed with your saliva, activating enzymes that absorb and "pull" toxins from your mouth. As the oil moves around the mouth, gums, teeth, and tongue, it will continue to absorb toxins. Ultimately, it will become viscous and milky. If the oil is still yellow and not white, you should continue the process for another few minutes, but never keep the oil in your mouth for more than 20 minutes in total. Otherwise, the toxins will begin to be reabsorbed.
Spit out the oil and wash out your mouth thoroughly with warm water (tap water is fine), and you're done. You may brush your teeth normally after the oil pulling is done.
Initially, oil pulling may feel unpleasant to you, but you will gradually become used to it just like regular tooth brushing. If you feel the urge to swallow the oil during the procedure, spit it out and redo the process using new, clean oil. Never swallow the oil as it contains toxins absorbed from your mouth. Also, don’t spit the oil into the sink or toilet as the pipes can get clogged. The safe way to get rid of it is by spitting it into a trash bin.
What are the different benefits of coconut oil pulling?
While you can use any organic oil for oil pulling, coconut oil is often considered the best for the job. A study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal in 2015 found that coconut oil is more beneficial than any other organic oil because it contains a medium chain of fatty acids made up of lauric acid. Lauric acid has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Moreover, researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland have reported that coconut oil’s antibiotic component can be added to dental care products. They discovered that digested coconut oil inhibited the multiplication of a majority of streptococcus bacteria, the bacteria that cause pink eye and strep throat. The same bacteria are also known to cause more severe illnesses, such as pneumonia.
If you are allergic to coconut, you can still do oil pulling with sesame or sunflower oil.
The following are the top 7 benefits of coconut oil pulling:
1) Promotes Oral Hygiene
One of the top coconut oil pulling benefits is that it is highly effective at preventing and reducing cavities. It is also known to eradicate bad breath. It removes decay-causing bacteria as well as other microorganisms. Oil pulling for the teeth also helps you prevent plaque-induced gingivitis.
2) Whitens Teeth
You should not rely on chemical-based whitening substances when you can get whiter and brighter teeth simply through oil pulling. Organic coconut oil has antiviral and antibiotic properties that thoroughly clean your teeth and brighten them. You will be able to enjoy visible results after just 2 weeks.
3) Boosts Energy
When the immune system works to remove toxins from the body, some energy from the body's reserves are used as well. By removing the toxins in the first instance with oil pulling, we can lower the amount of work our immune system needs to perform, which saves its energy. Hence, we stay energized and feel better.
4) Detoxifies the Body
The mouth is a gateway through which germs enter the body. Hence, by detoxifying the mouth, you would also be detoxifying your body. Germs and toxins entering the body can cause inflammation, infection, and other illnesses. Oil pulling helps keep those germs and toxins away.
5) Reduces Headaches
Headaches and migraines are very common among people whose bodies are under toxic stress. Oil pulling eliminates toxins from the body and thus helps prevent headaches caused by stress.
6) Aids in Beneficial Hormonal Changes
When your body has a lot of toxins, it becomes difficult for the hormones to perform at their best. This may cause hormonal imbalances. Once your body is detoxified, your hormonal function and balance improve.
7) Keeps The Skin Clear
When toxins enter the bloodstream, they can cause skin problems such as acne, pimples, and rashes. Since oil pulling detoxifies your body, you get clearer and healthier skin, free from abnormalities.
8) Weight loss
Oil pulling for weight loss is a debatable topic. While there is not enough scientific evidence supporting the fact that oil pulling can make you lose weight, this practice is still good to follow for certain reasons. According to ancient Ayurveda, stimulating and cleaning certain points on the tongue, as done during oil pulling, have a positive effect on different internal organs of the body such as the kidneys, liver, and heart. As a result, oil pulling reduces fluid retention and bloating, the major contributors to feeling and appearing puffy. Hence, oil pulling helps you lose a few pounds on the scale.
In brief, below are some of the well-known benefits of coconut oil pulling:
• Strengthens the gums and jaw
• Cures tooth decay
• Heals bleeding gums
• Whitens teeth
• Kills bad breath
• Reduces inflammation
• Prevents heart disease
• Heals cracked lips
• Boosts the immune system
• Improves acne
• Soothes throat dryness
• Prevents cavities
Does oil pulling have any side effects?
While the side effects of oil pulling aren’t very common, the unwise use of it can lead to certain problems. Oil pulling done incorrectly, such as when you swallow the oil, can lead to the following side effects:
1. Excessive Dryness in the Mouth:
Although oil pulling is known to soothe throat dryness, the procedure can also cause excessive dryness of the mouth. Many people who consistently follow this oral health practice experience dryness in the mouth after swishing.
2. Lipoid Pneumonia:
Many people don’t know how to swish the oil around correctly. As a result, they end up inhaling too much oil containing toxins and bacteria. This toxic oil enters the lungs and causes lipoid pneumonia. This is one of the serious possible side effects of oil pulling.
3. Upset Stomach:
It has been reported that oil pulling can lead to stomach problems such as diarrhea. Again, this happens when you swallow the oil containing toxins. Diarrhea is your body’s way of eliminating the contaminated oil from your stomach.
4. Coughing Up Mucus:
Oil pulling causes the thickening of mucus in your throat, and can thus lead to sneezing and coughing. Although believed to be a natural body cleansing process, the entire experience is definitely not pleasant.
5. Nausea And Vomiting:
These side effects are very common among people who are not used to oil pulling. When people swallow a little bit of oil, it creates a nauseating feeling that is difficult to control and eventually leads to vomiting.
7. Stomach Cramps:
Those people who are allergic to oil or certain kinds of it can develop stomach cramps and possibly nausea with vomiting after they finish doing their oil pulling.
8. Loss Of Appetite:
Many people have reported that oil pulling dulls the appetite. After their morning oil pulling regimen, many people don’t feel like eating breakfast. This eventually results in nutritional deficiencies and a slowed-down metabolism.
9. Jaw Stiffness:
Many people experience jaw stiffness after oil pulling. This is because the non-stop swishing for 15-20 minutes causes the jaw muscles and ligaments to stretch, resulting in pain and stiffness.
10. Increased Thirst:
Since oil pulling is associated with mouth dryness, the procedure can cause an increased consumption of water. Anything in excess is bad, and drinking too much water could lead you to suffer from water intoxication, which can be dangerous.
11. Loss Of Taste:
People who do not follow the correct method of oil pulling may experience a loss of taste and sensation in the mouth. The loss of taste can also lead to a loss of appetite.
The following are some other side effects associated with oil pulling:
1. Blocked nasal passages
2. Sneezing and coughing
3. An urge to urinate or pass stool
4. Phlegm And mucus in the mouth
5. The worsening of chronic health conditions
Despite these side effects, the benefits of coconut oil pulling cannot be underestimated. These problems can be avoided simply by following the correct method of swishing. Using only a small amount of oil makes swishing comfortable and easy. Do not swallow the oil and use a garbage bin to spit the oil into. You are not required to gargle the oil, as this increases the chances of swallowing it. Just move it gently around your mouth and use your tongue to spread it thoroughly to the different areas of the mouth.
After oil pulling, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water and brush your teeth properly as you always do. If you are allergic to a certain kind of oil, use a different one. Children below 5 years of age should not be allowed to do any oil pulling.
Oil Pulling Before and After
If you practice oil pulling on a regular basis, you will see drastic changes in the appearance of your teeth. Your teeth will become shinier, brighter, and whiter. You will see remarkable improvements in your skin as well.
There is now research supporting this millennia-old treatment for curing dental problems. Using coconut oil for oil pulling has more benefits than using any other oil in the market as the former provides several other health benefits besides. If you are still unsure about whether you should start oil pulling, the best way to clear your doubts is to talk to your dentist. He will examine that state of your oral health and give you the right advice.