Health benefits of oil pulling

 
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Glossier & Alexia G. Studio & Illustrations below by Faustine Badrichani

Glossier & Alexia G. Studio & Illustrations below by Faustine Badrichani

 
 

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.

1. ONE TABLESPOON OF OIL   Take one tablespoon full of oil, such as sesame or coconut oil.

1. ONE TABLESPOON OF OIL

Take one tablespoon full of oil, such as sesame or coconut oil.

 
2. SWISH FOR 10MIN   Swish it around in your mouth for at least 10 minutes. We recommend showering, making your cup of tea or breakfast as you swish – you’ll see it actually goes by fast. And not to worry, you will stop tasting the sesame oil after a few seconds of swishing it.

2. SWISH FOR 10MIN

Swish it around in your mouth for at least 10 minutes. We recommend showering, making your cup of tea or breakfast as you swish – you’ll see it actually goes by fast. And not to worry, you will stop tasting the sesame oil after a few seconds of swishing it.

 
 
3. SPIT IT OUT   Spit the oil into a trash rather than the sink or toilet when you’re done as oils can build up and clog your pipes. At the end of your swishing, the viscous oil should have become milky white and thinner.

3. SPIT IT OUT

Spit the oil into a trash rather than the sink or toilet when you’re done as oils can build up and clog your pipes. At the end of your swishing, the viscous oil should have become milky white and thinner.

 
4. SCRAPE YOUR TONGUE AGAIN & BRUSH YOUR TEETH   After oil pulling, and before brushing our teeth, we like to scrape our tongue a couple of more times just to make sure all toxins have been removed.

4. SCRAPE YOUR TONGUE AGAIN & BRUSH YOUR TEETH

After oil pulling, and before brushing our teeth, we like to scrape our tongue a couple of more times just to make sure all toxins have been removed.

 
 
 

* 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.