You’ve probably heard of it, maybe you’ve even tried it, but do you really understand the benefits of oil pulling? The ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification involves the use of pure oils as agents for pulling harmful bacteria out of the mouth, teeth, gums, and even throat — and can even whiten teeth. We asked our knowledgeable friends at Food Matters to share this refresher on the practice of oil pulling…
How To Oil Pull
The most effective oil pulling is done by placing around a tablespoon of cold pressed organic sesame oil into the mouth and swishing the oil around the mouth for approximately 10-15 minutes and then spitting it out.
Other oils such as extra virgin cold pressed coconut, sunflower and olive oil have been used, although sesame oil is considered one of the best oils for this practice. We recommend alternating oils every couple of days to get the full benefit. Putting high-quality organic oils into the mouth has a multi-effect outcome.
First, the oils mix with the saliva, turning it into a thin, white liquid. Lipids in the oils begin to pull out toxins from the saliva. As the oil is swished around the mouth, teeth, gums and tongue, the oil continues to absorb toxins and usually ends up turning thick and viscous and white. Once the oil has reached this consistency, it is spit out before the toxins are reabsorbed.
What Does Oil Pulling Do?
Multiple scientific studies show the efficacy of oil pulling therapy. One study shows that oil pulling with sesame oil can boost overall oral health. Specifically, using sesame oil as an oral health agent helps to reduce the amount of S. mutans (germ) count in both teeth plaque and mouth saliva. Scientists believe that the lipids in the oil both pull out bacteria, as well as stop bacterias from sticking to the walls of the oral cavity.
Oil pulling may also increase saponification in the mouth, creating a soapy environment that cleanses the mouth as vegetable fat is an emulsifier by nature. Most interesting is perhaps the ability of the oil to cleanse out harmful bacteria, as well as reduce fungal overgrowth. These oils also possibly help in cellular restructuring and are related to the proper functioning of the lymph nodes and other internal organs.
Benefits Of Oil Pulling
Overall Oral Health | Oil pulling helps with the overall strengthening of the teeth and gums and jaws. It helps prevent diseases of the gums and mouth, such as cavities and gingivitis, bad breath and dryness of the lips, mouth and throat. It works as a potential holistic remedy for bleeding gums and possible holistic treatment for TMJ and general soreness in the jaw area.
WHITENS TEETH | There is no need for chemical teeth whitening strips when oil pulling works just as well! The oil possesses natural antibiotic and antiviral properties that brighten and cleans teeth, keeping them pearly white. Try it for two weeks and you’ll see what I mean, or just take a look at Gwyneth Paltrow’s smile. She is known to follow the practice each morning.
INCREASES ENERGY | When our immune system is put to work in clearing out toxic waste from our body, it drains our energy levels. Removing the noxious culprits in the first instance by oil pulling lowers the amount of work our body has to do to function, which leaves us feeling a whole lot better. Oil pulling is even one of David Wolfe’s top 10 tips for next level health!
DETOXES THE BODY | Germs in the body are much like poison causing inflammation and leading to disease and illness in turn. The gateway to the body for such contamination is the mouth. Therefore, in removing the toxins at the source before they get a chance to spread, the body undergoes a complete detox. Neat!
AIDS HORMONAL CHANGES | Without having to compete with foreign substances, hormones can behave as they should, functioning to their best ability without being thrown off balance.
REDUCES HEADACHES | When the body is under toxic stress, headaches and migraines occur. It is nature’s way of asking for some time out to recover. By eliminating bacteria from the body via oil pulling, headaches can be avoided.
KEEPS THE SKIN CLEAR | The benefits even extend to your skin! Removing toxins from the body that would otherwise make it into the bloodstream means the skin has a chance to shine. Rashes and skin issues often reduce dramatically, or even clear up completely, when oil pulling.
PROMOTES ORAL HYGIENE | Oil pulling is highly effective at reducing tooth cavities and at eradicating bad breath. Removing the Streptococcus mutant bacteria (an important player in tooth decay) as well as other microorganisms, oil pulling is great for oral health. It also helps with plaque-induced gingivitis.
Benefits Beyond The Mouth? Ancient Ayurvedic health practitioners believed that oil pulling could reduce more than just diseases of the mouth and throat. Today, many holistic practitioners tout its use for a variety of health concerns. It is believed that these oils help the lymphatic system of the body as harmful bacteria are removed and beneficial microflora are given with a healthy environment to flourish. Because of this holistic perspective, oil pulling has been used as a preventative health measure for many other conditions.
Other possible benefits of oil pulling for overall health include:
Migraine headache relief
Correcting hormone imbalances
Reducing inflammation of arthritis
May help with gastro-enteritis
Aids in the reduction of eczema
May reduce symptoms of bronchitis
Helps support normal kidney function
May help reduce sinus congestion
Some people report improved vision
Helps reduce insomnia
Reduced hangover after alcohol consumption
Aids in reducing pain
Reduces the symptoms of allergies
Helps detoxify the body of harmful metals and organisms
Scientific Studies On Sesame Oil + Oil Pulling
Sesame oil is particularly high in the antioxidants sesamol, sesamin, and sesamolin. It also holds a high concentration of Vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These antioxidants have been found to stop the absorption of negative forms of cholesterol in the liver. Multiple studies have shown the antibacterial capacities of sesame oil. These studies support the use of oil pulling in the prevention of dental cavities and gingivitis.
A 2007 study looking into the effect of oil pulling (with sunflower oil) on plaque and gingivitis on oral soft and hard tissues. Results found that after 45 days of oil pulling, subjects showed a statistically significant reduction in gingivitis.
Another study, conducted in 2008 found a “remarkable reduction in the total count of bacteria” in the mouth and an overall marked reduction in susceptibility dental cavities. The antibacterial activity of sesame oil was also studied and found to have an effect on the Streptococcus mutans in the mouth.
In fact, these studies showed an overall reduction of bacteria from 10 to 33.4% in participants, and after 40 days of oil pulling, participants were found to show 20% in average reduction in oral bacteria. Moreover, half of all participants, in this case, study, showed a drastic reduction in susceptibility to dental caries.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.
I did it for six months and had two dental cleanings within that period. I asked the hygienist if she noticed any changes with my teeth and gums. Like, “OMG your gum pockets are barely measurable”. However, she never noticed a difference in color, gum health or oral hygiene.
A few years ago I tried oil pulling with coconut oil. I did this once a day and first started with 20 minutes and sometimes got distracted and did for 40 minutes. After a few months I noticed I started feeling like absolute garbage. I was sick with body aches, a cold for a few months. I did this for over 6 months and by 8 months I had to stop. I thought I was going to die. I was at the doctors every few weeks. I don’t know how long to do to clear the body, but I haven’t done it since as I am scared to do it again.
I read that pulling longer than 20 minutes can result in the re absorption of bacteria.. Also, make sure to spit and rinse the mouth before swallowing (for the same reason).
I oil pull regularly for 20 minutes most mornings. I have my teeth cleaned every 6 months and after maybe a year of oil pulling my visit time dropped from about an hour to less than 1/2 hour. My dental hygienist also almost always will ask me what toothpaste I use. (I use a dry powder with an electric brush). My teeth are definitely whiter and I think the plaque buildup must also be less since the cleanings take significantly less time than they used to before oil pulling. The oil pulling has definitely made a huge difference and I actually miss it on the few mornings when I don’t do it.