19 Dec Keep Bugs at Bay
We have great chat before class, and a whole host of topics come up as fellow students share their day, their thoughts and ideas with each other. When we got onto the hot topic of oil pulling the other day, I thought it would be helpful to go into a bit more detail of my findings.
Oil pulling, also known as “kavala” or “gundusha,” is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action can draw out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.
2. Swish the oil around your mouth for about 15-20 minutes.
3. Spit out the oil, then brush your teeth.
If you use coconut oil like me, then you may have to chew on the oil for a minute or so to let it melt, because it is solid at room temperature.
It is best to do this on an empty stomach, before you brush your teeth. I prefer to do it while I take a shower in the morning.
I put the oil in my mouth, swish it around while in the shower and try to “push” and “pull” the oil between my teeth.
When I get out of the shower I spit out the oil into the bin (not the sink… it can clog), rinse my mouth with water and then brush my teeth.
There is no need to use a lot of force here, if oil pulling causes pain in your facial muscles then just relax a bit. Try using less oil next time and don’t swish it around too forcefully.
Oil pulling has traditionally been touted as a majorly effective detoxifying technique and immune booster.
By swishing oil in your mouth for several minutes, you’re cleansing between the teeth, underneath the gums, along the tongue and on the surface of the teeth – pulling bacteria away. When you spit out the oil, you’re removing these microbes from your body.
If these little invaders are removed from the mouth, they can’t make their way down to the gut – where 80% of our immune system is located.
Boost Energy Levels
When we’re feeling sluggish it can sometimes be down to an overworked immune system. By boosting immunity, the body can direct its energy elsewhere.
Regular oil pullers say you should have some added pep in your step in just two weeks!
Get Smooth & Glowing Skin
How can oil pulling heal skin? It’s a good question – there doesn’t appear to be much of a link between the two. But skin conditions like acne, rosacea, dermatitis and psoriasis can be linked to the health of your gut. This link, known as the gut-skin axis, is something that scientists have been aware of for over 100 years!
Cure Bad Breath
One of the most science-backed health benefits of oil pulling is its ability to improve oral hygiene, including bad breath, or halitosis – which is often caused by bacteria. A 2011 study evaluated the effect of oil pulling with sesame oil on bad breath, and compared it to conventional mouthwash. After two weeks of oil pulling, researchers found a definite reduction in the signs of halitosis – as evaluated through tongue scrapings and assessment of breath odor. They concluded that oil pulling therapy is every bit as effective as chlorhexidine (an antibacterial used in mouthwash) on halitosis and bacteria associated with halitosis. A second study, carried out three years later, backs up these findings. After three weeks, the participants in the research enjoyed a significant reduction in plaque, gingivitis, perceptions of bad breath and oral bacteria levels among both the oil pulling and chlorhexidine groups, but not the control group, supporting the theory that oil pulling reduces bad breath as much as mouthwash does.
Reduce Tooth Decay
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research claims that tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable. Oil pulling is one way to prevent this health issue, according to research published by the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine.
Help Gingivits. Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and inflammation of the gums. When researchers looked at the effects of sesame oil pulling, they found that this folk remedy was just as effective as conventional mouthwash at reducing the plaque that leads to gingivitis. After 10 days of oil pulling, participants in the study experienced a reduction in levels of both plaque and gingivitis, as well as lower levels of microorganisms in the mouth. It’s not just sesame oil that provides a cure. 2015 research looked specifically of the role played by coconut oil on gingivitis over a 30-day period. After just seven days of using the coconut oil, researchers found that both plaque and gingivitis symptoms decreased significantly, and they continued to decrease for the remainder of the month.
Say Goodbye to Sensitivity
If you cringe when you bite into an ice-cream or get a searing shot of pain if your coffee is too hot, then it sounds like you have sensitive teeth. Hard core oil pulling fans claim that a reduction in sensitivity is a welcome side effect of swishing every morning. While there isn’t any research on this one, it makes sense as tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors, including tooth decay near the gum line, gingivitis, plaque buildup and inflammation caused by bacteria – all problems that oil pulling has been shown to eliminate.
Sensitive teeth can also be linked with mouthwash use – something which you can ditch once you begin oil pulling.
Because poor dental hygiene and inadequate brushing and flossing to remove plaque can cause tooth discoloration, oil pulling may whiten up your teeth again. It’s one of the reported long-term side effects of this healthy habit – although hard evidence is lacking, my growing group of oil pullers have seen a difference in their own teeth, as I have with mine.
A Safer Alternative to Mouthwash
Once you start oil pulling, you can say goodbye to store-bought mouthwashes and the chemical nasties they contain.
Help Your Heart
Strangely enough, good oral hygiene has been linked with a healthier heart! A growing body of research shows that bacteria and inflammation in the mouth are linked to problems like heart attack and dementia. As strange, as it may sound, watch this space as medical research develops in this area.
Are you a seasoned oil puller? Going to give it a go? I love to hear your comments and sharings, as we continue to inspire and learn from each other.