Many of you may have already heard or even tried the fast growing trend of Oil pulling.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique, performed because of its beneficial effects of detoxification of the mouth and maintaining healthy gums and teeth.
In the following, I will explain the procedure of oil pulling, share some tips on how to get the most beneficial effects from its use, as well as inform you about the expected beneficial effects and potential side effects and risks.
Oil pulling before and after
The History of Oil Pulling
The practice of oil pulling first appeared in India, 5000 – 10000 years ago.
It is first mentioned in the Ayurvedic text “Charaka Samhita”. It explains how the mouth is filled with oil, that needs to be swished in the mouth for 5 minutes, after which it is spat out.
However, in “Kavala Graha”, only a comfortable amount of oil is placed in the mouth, that needs to be swished in the mouth for a longer time, approximately 10-20 minutes, after which it is spat out.
What is Oil Pulling and how does it work?
Oil pulling, also known as “kavala” and “gundusha” is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique, that involves swishing approximately a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut, sesame or sunflower oil) in the mouth, for about 10 to 20 minutes and then spitting it out.
Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?
Oil pulling is known for being:
- very simple
- An unpainful procedure that you could perform at your home (unlike many medical procedures that would supposedly provide the same beneficial effects)
Oil Pulling benefits
The main benefit of oil pulling is mainly the removal of any harmful bacteria present in the mouth, which create a layer on the teeth, known as plaque.
Some of the bacteria in our mouths are useful but, some of the them can cause many problems related to your oral health – e.g. bad breath, yellowing of the teeth, inflammation of the gums, gingivitis, and cavities.
The way that oil pulling works is very simple.
By swishing the oil in your mouth, you’re allowing to the bacteria to get attached on the oil and by the time you spit the oil out, the bacteria is removed with it.
In Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered that the tongue is connected to every organ in the body. By affecting the tongue, the oil indirectly indicates a detoxification of every organ in the body.
The oil pulling technique not only removes the superficial bacteria from the mouth but also removes the bacteria from the crevices between the teeth and the gums.
Key Tips you need to know before Oil Pulling
Start with a small amount
Start with a teaspoon a day, and work your way up to a tablespoon. The idea of a whole tablespoon on the first couple of days may not be the most ideal one.
Oil pulling could cause nausea to occur, hence why it is important to start with at least a teaspoon a day, in order to get used to the idea of oil pulling.
As the days come, when you will comfortable with a teaspoon of oil in your mouth, try and replace the teaspoon with a tablespoon of oil.
Do not swallow
The oil that has been used for oil pulling is filled with bacteria.
It is not recommended to swallow the oil after the procedure of oil pulling is finished. That is the way you need to spit out the oil after you have finished the procedure.
The oil contains bacteria, germs, and toxins that must be removed from the body.
Brushing teeth with coconut oil
Although oil pulling does reverse the effects of tooth decay, it could never replace the everyday routine for maintaining a good oral health.
Do not forget to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss in between meals.
Rinse with a mixture of warm water and salt after oil pulling
The mixture of warm water and salt will cleanse the mouth after the removal of all of the bacteria.
The salt is a great antimicrobial agent that will clean the mouth, as well as soothe the inflammation of the gums after oil pulling is performed.
However, if you brush your teeth or use mouthwash, rinsing with warm water and salt will be required. Either way, be sure to apply at least one method of rinsing your mouth.
Oil Pulling reviews – A Step-by-Step Guide
- The first step is to choose the oil you will be using in the treatment of oil pulling. The oil that was traditionally used in the Ayurvedic medicine is sesame oil, but you can choose from sunflower, sesame or the most recommended one – coconut oil.
- Measure a tablespoon, or if you want a teaspoon, of the oil and place it in your mouth.
- Swish for 10-20 minutes. Timing is the key! 20 minutes is considered the enough time needed for the oil to break through the plaque, but not enough for the body to start re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. You will notice changes in the color and density of the oil as it gets mixed up with the saliva. *The oil will get thicker and change its color to milky white by the time you need to spit it out.*
- Rinse well using a mixture of warm water and salt or brush your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste. First, rinse your mouth with warm water and then wash it choosing either the mixture of warm water and salt or toothpaste.
- Repeat 3-4 times a week in order to get the best results
How often should I do Oil Pulling?
Start with 5 minutes a day, and work your way up to 20 minutes.
Why? You’re probably asking.
The idea of having your mouth filled with oil for 20 minutes a day may not be the ideal one.
Oil pulling could cause nausea to occur, because of what it is important to start with at least 5 minutes a day.
This will help you get used to the idea of oil pulling.
As the days come, increase the time until you reach the ideal goal of 20 minutes a day of oil pulling.
What Oil should I use for Oil Pulling?
In the following, we will share some useful tips that could help you to get the most beneficial effects from the use of oil pulling.
Use coconut oil
While you can get the same bacterial-fighting benefits from sesame and sunflower oil, coconut oil has a different effect. This effect is based the lauric acid, which is well known for its antimicrobial agents.
Also, coconut oil is a good alternative for mouthwash, because it contains Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
It is also, easily digested. However, there is a risk of “contact dermatitis”, which is an allergic skin reaction to coconut oil. A good tip is to test the coconut oil on your elbow before you start using it for oil pulling.
What oils are not recommended for Oil Pulling?
- Peanut oil
Other benefits of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is recommended by many people who have already tried the technique of oil pulling, but it is also recommended by many doctors around the world. The benefits of the coconut oil:
- Balances hormones
- Kills Candida
- It is easily digested
- It contains Vitamins A, D, E, and K
- It moisturizes the skin
- It has antibacterial and antifungal properties
Who can apply the technique of Oil Pulling?
Children – Pediatricians all around the world all agree about the safety of oil pulling to be applied by children, as long as they are old enough to understand the need to spit up the oil once the procedure is finished.
Women during pregnancy – The best advice is to contact your doctor if you are currently pregnant and interested to start applying this technique.
However, oil pulling is recommended and considered as safe to be used during pregnancy, mostly because of its many beneficial effects which are needed in order to maintain a good oral health.
It is known that oral health is a must during pregnancy!
Nursing mothers – The best advice is to contact your doctor if you are currently breastfeeding and interested to start applying this technique.
However, oil pulling is generally recommended and considered as safe to be used during the period of breastfeeding.
Issues regarding your oral health – If you are experiencing some issues regarding your oral health, the best advice is to contact your doctor and your dentist before you start applying this technique.
Oil Pulling Benefits
- Natural detoxification method – The oil used pulls the toxins and germs from the system into the saliva, which is an easy way for the body to get rid of toxins.
- Cures tooth decay – The main reason for tooth decay is bad oral hygiene. By not removing the layer of plaque on the surface of the teeth, we increase the risk of tooth decay. By removing the layer of plaque – the bacteria off the teeth, the oil helps to cure and prevent tooth decay.
- Kills bad breath – The main reason for bad breath is the layer of plaque on the surface of the teeth and tongue. By removing the layer of plaque – the bacteria off the teeth, as well as, off the tongue, the oil helps to kill bad breath.
- Whitens and makes the teeth stronger – Especially coconut oil which contains Vitamin D helps to make the bones and teeth stronger.
- Helps reduce gingivitis – Gingivitis is caused when by an inflammation of the gums. It occurs when the immune system attacks the bacteria in the plaque on the surface of the teeth. By removing the plaque, the oil helps reduce the risk of gingivitis.
- Treat bleeding gums – Especially if coconut oil is used, which contains Vitamin K, that helps with blood clotting, the oil pulling technique treats the bleeding of the gums.
Oil Pulling side effects
Along with its needed beneficial effects, there are potential side effects that could occur.
Every individual is different.
There are different reports on side effects after an oil pulling treatment has been performed.
Reported side effects:
- Mucus release: in the throat or the nose during the swishing of the oil in the mouth. The increased amount of mucus is a result of the swishing which releases your sinuses and causes drainage.
- Jaw soreness: if you experience jaw soreness, cut the time to 8-10 minutes and try to swish more gently.
- Nausea and vomiting: some people have reported experiencing a gag reflex while swishing the oil in the mouth. Also, some people have experienced nausea and vomiting. This is mostly a result of the change in the density of the oil, as it gets mixed up with the saliva. To avoid nausea and vomiting, take smaller amounts of oil at the beginning and work your way up to one tablespoon. Also, at the beginning, try swishing the oil for at least 5 minutes without spitting it out. This will help you to get used to the idea of the presence of oil in the mouth.
Studies/Research on Oil Pulling
As the trend of oil pulling grew, there were many studies and researches done to confirm the beneficial effects from the use of this technique.
There is a handful of small clinical studies done on the topic of oil pulling, and all of them show the connection between the technique of oil pulling and the improvement in the health of the gums.
Researchers have proven that performing oil pulling, while using coconut oil, can stop plaque from forming.
The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative medicine has performed research which proves that oil pulling is one of the most effective ways to help prevent tooth decay and loss.
According to a research performed by the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in Tamil Nadu, India – oil pulling helps to reduce Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which is considered to be a big contributor to tooth decay.
Other researches have proven that oil pulling helps improving bad breath.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique, which has become a fast growing trend in the world in the past couple of years.
Remember that oil pulling must not replace the everyday routine of oral hygiene – brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing in between meals is still important.