Health benefits of oil pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing oil in the mouth to promote oral health. Used like a mouthwash, oil pulling is used to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth, prevent cavities, oral decay and bad breath, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and whitening teeth.
Contrary to “antiseptic” and “anti-bacterial” mouthwashes which kill both types of bacteria in the mouth, the bad but also the good, oil pulling only gets rid of the bad – nourishing a balanced and healthy oral microbiome. Only a few of the bacteria in the mouth cause illness and cavities, the rest form part of our body’s first line of defense against pathogens. If we kill all the bacteria in our mouth, we are weakening its immune system.
Sesame, coconut and sunflower oils are most commonly used to oil pull as they have a pleasant taste and been found to reduce plaque-induced gingivitis and act as an antifungal, thanks to their high amounts of lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties. These oils will attract the lipid layer of bacterial cell membranes, and cause it to stick, and ‘attach’ to the oil – “pulling” the bacteria, viruses and protozoa from the oral cavity.
How to OIL pull in 4 simple steps
Oil pulling should be ideally performed daily morning on empty stomach after tongue scraping and before brushing teeth and care should be taken that oil is not swallowed. It’s easy and can be done while multi-tasking.
* NOTE FOR FIRST TIMERS
You may also want to work your way up, starting with swishing for just 5 minutes and increasing the duration until you're able to do it for a full 10-15 minutes.