What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an ancient technique dating back to more than 3,000 years. It is a detoxifying Ayurvedic technique and has recently became popular as a complementary and alternative medicine. Oil pulling procedure is also called “Kavala or Gandusha”, and has been used extensively in the olden days to treat tooth decay, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw.
Oil pulling can be used as an oral cavity cleanser and prevent oral diseases. Though sesame oil and sunflower oil are recommended for oil pulling procedure, recent studies show that coconut oil has gained much popularity by showing immense benefits in maintaining oral health.
- Coconut oil is the most popular of pulling oils
- Coconut oil pulling expels toxins from the mouth
- It prevents gingivitis, dental caries and oral thrush
Coconut oil is revered as one of the best oils that can maintain proper health. It is said to be a super food and an ayurvedic miracle. Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats and has numerous health benefits. It also helps prevent cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, boost skin health, reduce cholesterol and even burn fat.
Coconut oil is widely available and used in several parts of the world, especially in the Tropical regions. This readily available pantry ingredient has recently gained popularity in improving dental health.
- Coconut oil is highly absorbable.
- It has less omega 6 fatty acids than sesame oil.
- It is tastier and more flavorful than other oils.
- Lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is shown to have significant antimicrobial activity against Escherichia vulneris, Enterobacter spp., Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Candida spp., including C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis, C. stellatoidea and C. Krusei.
- Caprylic acid in coconut oil is a powerful antifungal agent.
Oil pulling is a simple process of swishing or holding oil inside the mouth for a few minutes. Just follow these steps at home every day to gain the benefits of coconut oil pulling.
- Put 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth and gently swish it. Move it fully inside the mouth and between your teeth.
- Sip, suck and pull through the teeth and make sure the oil mixes with the saliva for about ten to twenty minutes.
- Keep repeating the process, until the oil becomes white in color. Ensure you don’t swallow the oil as it is full of toxins.
- Spit the oil and rinse the oral cavity with tap water.
- After oil pulling, brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.
Cleanses Oral Cavity
Swishing oil in the mouth cleanses and expels toxins from the oral cavity. It pulls out the bacteria and other microbes from the body and lessens the bacterial load.
Reduces Tooth Decay
Tooth decay or dental caries affects children predominantly causing severe pain and tooth loss. The primary cause of tooth decay is a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. Lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial activity and helps remove this bacteria effectively, reducing tooth decay.
Coconut oil pulling has a certain effect on plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis. A study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal showed that swishing oil in the mouth leads to emulsification and a film formation on the teeth. This film on the gingiva reduces plaque adhesion. It also highlighted that lauric acid in coconut oil easily reacts with sodium hydroxide in the saliva and forms sodium laureate; responsible for cleansing teeth and decreasing plaque formation.
Keeps Bad Breath At Bay
Bad breath or halitosis is caused by chemicals and gases in the oral cavity. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, oil pulling was found to be as effective as a mouthwash in eliminating bad breath.
Treats Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused due to the accumulation of bacteria on the tooth and gaps between the teeth and gum. Oil pulling will get in between the teeth and deep within the gums to help eliminate bacteria and other microbes.
Coconut oil pulling can whiten teeth naturally by eliminating the biofilm left by germs on the teeth. It also helps maintain smoother and shinier teeth. Oil pulling also removes tooth stain.
Eliminates Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is a common oral infection caused by a yeast, Candida albicans. Coconut oil pulling eliminates this yeast and also expels toxins from candida die-off. Coconut oil has caprylic acid, a natural antifungal that kills the yeast in the mouth. When candida is rapidly killed, it is termed as candida die-off and oil pulling helps eliminate these dead fungi as well.
Do’s & Don’ts of Oil Pulling
- Do oil pulling early in the morning on an empty stomach
- Do give it a try and experiment with different oils
- Do not swallow the oil or gargle with it
- Do not spit the oil into the sink, rather spit it in a trash can or a disposable cover.
- Do not replace oil pulling with your routine dental care
It’s important for teeth to last a lifetime, so make sure to take care of them and add this easy oral health technique to your daily routine!
- Faizal C. Peedikayil, Prathima Sreenivasan and Arun Narayanan, Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis — A preliminary report, Niger Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr; 56(2): 143–147, doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.153406.
- Abhinav Singh and Bharathi Purohit, Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health, J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011, Apr-Jun; 2(2): 64–68, doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.82525.
- Asokan S, Kumar RS, Emmadi P, Raghuraman R, Sivakumar N, Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial, J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2011 Apr-Jun;29(2):90-4. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.84678.