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Coconut and oil sitting on a shelf for someone to use for dental health.

Everything You Need to Know About Oil Pulling

Yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, sipping on your favorite hot beverage – Perhaps, these are part of your morning routine? Sounds like a glorious way to start the day, doesn’t it?

We happen to agree.

There is one other practice that could prove to be a great value addition to your morning. Oil pulling – But what even is it?

If you’ve never heard of it, we’ve got you covered. Today, let’s learn the benefits of oil pulling on the whole body, and why it can enhance the quality of your overall dental and general health.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil Pulling is an ancient dental detox practice rooted in Ayurveda. This holistic health practice uses natural oils to cleanse and detoxify your oral cavity. Much like mouthwash, swishing oil in your mouth was believed since ancient times to activate salivary enzymes in your mouth.

A clear mechanism of how it works is yet to be researched but a recent randomized controlled study has discussed that an emulsion could be formed with oil and salivary enzymes. This process increases the surface area of the oil. The plaque-causing bacteria are drawn to the oil lipid layer which then enables their removal.

Oil pulling is not new but is now catching up quickly in the Western world. It’s becoming a rising holistic health trend.

4 Benefits of Adding Oil Pulling to Your Morning Routine

Exploring the benefits of oil pulling can help us better understand how and why it could work for us.

1. Eliminates Dental Plaque & Bacteria (Oil Pulling for Teeth)

Did you know that your mouth can hold up to 700 strains of bacteria? Are you thinking “Eww, that is so gross?” Poor dental hygiene and lifestyle choices are proven factors that contribute to the accumulation of these bacteria and the formation of dental plaque.

Recent studies have shown that oil pulling has indeed been effective in reducing the levels of oral Streptococcus Mutans. This is the bacteria responsible for dental plaque formation.

If you haven’t been able to visit your dentist due to the COVID-19 shelter in place, worry not. You could oil pull your way through this quarantine and buy some time while maintaining basic oral hygiene before your next dentist visit.

A blonde woman is gargling oil while looking at the viewer.

2. Can Be Used for Holistic Detox

Would you have ever thought that your teeth and tongue could be mirrors of what is going on inside? And maybe if you did, would you take much better care of your teeth?

Per Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, the oral cavity is a reflection of the health of your inner organs. The tongue is believed to be closely connected to the kidneys, heart, and small intestines. In support of this ancient wisdom, recent research has established a correlation between poor oral health and increased risk of heart disease.

Given the correlation, a full oral cavity cleanse has the potential to provide an internal organ detox.

Russian scientist Dr. Karach has claimed that oil pulling therapy can be beneficial for health issues ranging from migraines to digestive issues. While the possibility for such a full body detox does exist, further research that investigates its mechanism will be transformational for the field of holistic health.

Read this next: The Negative Attitude Detox

A man checks his breath while standing in front of a bathroom mirror.

3. Has the Ability to Improve Gum Health and Reduce Bad Breath

Bad breath is a strict no-no for almost everybody! We can all unanimously vote for that.

Dentists the world over have established a firm correlation between gum health, gingivitis, and bad breath. In this regard, oil pulling could be used as a natural alternative or a supplement to existing commercial methods of improving gum health.

4. May Result in Whiter Teeth

Are you a coffee or tea lover, but are bummed out that you have stained yellowish teeth? Or perhaps caffeine isn’t your beverage of choice, but yet you have some discoloration? Maybe teeth whitening is an activity that you regularly indulge in?

Done consistently, coconut oil pulling could be a cost-effective non-harsh way for you to naturally whiten your teeth.

How to Oil Pull

Now that you know of its benefits, maybe you’re willing to give oil pulling a try but you might still have questions – Which is the best oil for oil pulling? How do I do it? Are there any dos and don’ts?

Here, we discuss a few FAQ’s, so you can proceed with this practice without hesitation.

A glass bowl with sesame oil in it.

Which Oil to Use

In ancient times, sesame oil was the oil of choice. As such, any edible vegetable oil (coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.) can be used. Oil pulling with coconut oil is quickly gaining popularity due to its antimicrobial properties.

What to Do

Use one tablespoon of solid coconut or any other vegetable oil. Swish the oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes like a mouthwash. Spit it out and rinse well. Per Dr. Bruce Fife, this practice, when done preferably first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything, is beneficial.

At first, 20 minutes might seem like a long time to hold that volume of liquid in your mouth but it gets better with practice.

Oil pulling may turn out to be a great workout for toning your cheek, lower jaw, and throat muscles. Your muscles will likely thank you later! 20 minutes is the suggested time, but it is not written in stone. You can start small, and work your way up to 20 minutes.

Adding a few drops of essential oil (of your choice) can enhance the taste of the oil. Just ensure that the essential oil is edible before adding it into the mix.

What Not to Do

Swishing oil draws out the bacteria from within unreachable internal crevices of your mouth. 20 minutes into this practice, this oil is now flooded with harmful bacteria. It’s very important that you do NOT swallow any of this oil.

Make a conscious effort to spit it out.

The oil will also thicken over time, and potentially clog your sink. Discard this oil, bacteria, saliva emulsion into a trash can. In doing so, you’ll be saving yourself the trouble of having to deal with a clogged plumbing line in the future.

Will You Try Oil Pulling Today?

Oil pulling, as you have seen in this article, is a simple, cost-effective, and fairly straight forward practice. Done consistently, it has the potential to improve your overall health and well being in a holistic way.

Having read this article, what are your thoughts? In addition to your yoga, meditation, and gratitude practice, will you include oil pulling to your morning routine? If you already engage in regular oil pulling, share your experience with it. We at Daily Life would love to hear from you!

**The information contained in this article is not intended to substitute or replace medical advice or professional healthcare treatment. We do not recommend self-management of health problems or wellness.

Should any reader have any healthcare related questions or concerns, please call or consult your physician or healthcare provider. No information on this website should be used to disregard medical and/or health-related advice from a physician or a qualified healthcare provider.

Related article: 7 Ways to Improve Your Life with Coconut Oil

Anu Sataluri

Anu Sataluri

Anu (short for Anupama) is a clinical researcher by profession. She worked in the healthcare industry for over 7 years, and was responsible for workflow management of clinical trials. During this period, she witnessed several hundred patients walk away in disappointment with "no cure" due to the "symptom-based" approach of Western... Read More

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