You may already be familiar with the concept of oil pulling and are curious to learn more about oil pulling benefits or oil pulling may be new to you and you and want to learn more about oil pulling and how to do it. This post breaks oil pulling down into simple answers to common questions and what steps to take so you can be on your way oil pulling for a healthier and cleaner mouth.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling, also known as oil swishing or even oil gargling, originated as a part of an Ayurvedic practice as part of a holistic health treatment. Oil pulling is a simple practice of swishing oil around in your mouth for a set amount of time every day as a way to maintain oral hygiene and health.
Oil Pulling Benefits:
There are many claimed oil pulling benefits. In Ayurveda, they believed oil pulling helped treat and prevent a variety of conditions including chronic skin diseases like eczema, respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis, diabetes, and was said to aid in overall body detoxification. Some other people claim it relieves headaches, treats acne, helps with hormone imbalances, and increases energy. Although these claims may seem farfetched, according to the Mayo Clinic oral health problems are linked to a variety of health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even osteoporosis. Considering that oil pulling has been proven beneficial for overall oral health, maybe these claims are worth a second look. Here are oil pulling benefits for oral health:
- Reduces plaque
- Prevents gingivitis
- Strengthens teeth and gums
- Helps halitosis and freshens breath
- Treats oral thrush
- Whitens teeth (the verdict is still out on this one)
- Boosts immune system
- Healthy alternative to conventional mouthwashes that contain harmful ingredients
Oil Pulling Research:
There is research that has shown that oil pulling is not just pseudo-science when it comes to oral care. This Web MD article explains how oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque and microorganisms that cause bad breath. This scientific paper discusses the importance of oil pulling in oral health maintenance. A scientific study conducted showed that it brings improvement to oral hygiene when practiced correctly and regularly. Another study showed to be equally as effective as chlorhexidine (an ingredient used in mouthwashes to fight bad breath) on halitosis and organisms that cause bad breath. Considering chlorhexidine can cause teeth staining, increase of tarter, and change the way food tastes to you, oil pulling seems like a much safer bet.
What oils should I use for oil pulling?
Oil pulling can be done with one or a combination of the following oils. Coconut oil pulling is recommended because coconut oil has additional antimicrobial properties that are beneficial. Other common oils used in oil pulling are sunflower oil, sesame seed oil (not toasted), and even olive oil. Whichever oil you choose make sure it is high quality and preferably organic.
How often should I do oil pulling?
You only need to oil pull once a day but you can oil pull twice a day if preferred.
How long should I oil pull for?
You want to swish the oil around in your mouth for around 5-10 minutes and not exceed 20 minutes. A lot of people state you need to oil pull for a full 20 minutes but from my research that is highly unnecessary and think that is what deters people from oil pulling to begin with.
Should I oil pull in the morning or evening?
Morning is best. That is when all the toxins and bacteria that you want to remove are most prevalent in your mouth. Oil pulling is also best done on an empty stomach so morning time is perfect and it should be done before consuming any liquids or foods. Oil pulling is great at reducing morning breath and is best performed prior to brushing your teeth. If you would like to oil pull before bed as well that is up to you.
How to Oil Pull:
Just put 1-3 teaspoons of oil in your mouth (less is best as it will increase in volume why you are swishing). Swish around, pushing and sucking the oil around your mouth and between your teeth for a period of 5-10 minutes, then spit into a trash can once complete. Oil pulling recipes coming soon!
Oil Pulling Cautions:
- Do not swallow the oil! Not only will the oil be full of harmful bacteria and toxins you do not want to reintroduce into your body, but you risk swallowing down the wrong tube.
- Oil pulling is not recommended for children under 5 due to concerns of swallowing.
- Do not use an oil you are allergic to! Also, make sure the oil was not processed alongside ingredients you are allergic too.
- Never spit the oil down the drain or in the toilet as it can clog your plumbing.
- Oil pulling is not a replacement for other oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing your teeth.
Overall oil pulling has lots of benefits, no known side effects and is a healthy way to improve your oral health and maybe even your health in general.
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– Elizabeth Hemmings, author of Easy Green Cleaning