A simple practice known as ‘oil pulling’ may be one of the very best ways to prevent or treat mouth and gum disease. It has been a popular and practical exercise of Ayurvedic medicine for ages and was more recently introduced to Western cultures by a Dr. F. Karach, M.D. in the early 90s. Karach advocated oil pulling due to the results he detailed in the treatment of a variety of of illnesses including everything from migraine headaches and bronchitis, to gum disease, leukemia and heart disease – just to name a few.
A 2009 study conducted by researchers Asokan, Emmadi, Chamundeswari seemed to back up earlier claims and highlight the effectiveness of oil pulling on the treatment of gum disease. This trial involved swishing sesame oil to test it against plaque-induced gingivitis in 20 test subjects, and to compare its efficacy with chlorhexidine mouthwash. Results concluded that there was a significant reduction in “… the plaque index, modified gingival scores and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.”
How oil pulling works
Longtime practitioners of oil pulling recommend using sesame, safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil but recently the anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties of coconut oil has made it the preferred go-to oil to use. Practicing oil pulling is a simple process that starts with swishing a tablespoon of your preferred oil back, forth and around the mouth and teeth for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes –followed by a thorough rinse and routine brushing. By adopting this practice into your oral care routine – and doing it first thing in the morning, you may begin to reap some of the benefits including:
• Healthier gums
• Whiter teeth
• A significant reduction of plaque and tartar
• Fresher breath
Killing bacteria with oil pulling
At any given moment, the human mouth contains an assortment of active microbes, with bacteria being the most prolific. Experts estimate that more than 100 million microbes thrive in every milliliter of saliva – containing upwards of 600 different species of bacteria — some beneficial, others harmful. Without following a regime of proper oral hygiene, the nastier bacteria will eventually collect and form a sticky film on teeth and tongue. Left untreated plaque and other bacteria can flow into the digestive tract and potentially cause, or aggravate, a wide variety of chronic health issues.
The enzymes naturally found in food grade oils are thought to help pull toxins, pus and mucus away from not only teeth, gums and tongue, but also from the body’s cells, blood and digestive tract. Ayurveda suggests that oil pulling works by purifying, cleansing and detoxifying the entire system by removing harmful toxins. In Ayurveda each section of the human tongue is connected to corresponding vital organs of the body such as lungs, kidneys, stomach, colon, liver, spine, heart and small intestines. By keeping the teeth and tongue free of toxic buildup through the practice of oil pulling, you’re actually helping to keep the whole body healthy.
Proper dental hygiene is not only important for oral health, it is essential to all aspects of wellness. Adding oil pulling to already established oral care techniques including brushing and flossing and avoiding sugars and processed foods, it is even more possible to maintain a healthier mouth and body.
And — How Coconut Oil Can Be Used As A Mouthwash (VIDEO)
Resources: Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. – Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:47-51.