The Amazing Benefits Of Oil Pulling And How To Do It

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Benefits Of Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing an edible oil in your mouth. It can reduce plaque, treat gum disease, kill bacteria, eliminate bad breath, and relieve dry mouth. Furthermore, Ayurveda considers it to be a rejuvenating treatment that can invigorate your mind, enhance your senses, and help disorders like asthma and migraines.

In the name of good oral health, you may brush and floss religiously. Yet, you might wonder if there is anything else you can do. This is where oil pulling comes in. Known as kavalagraha in Ayurveda, oil pulling is a traditional Indian technique used to prevent tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, and cracked lips. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita as a part of oral hygiene maintenance.1

A variation of oil pulling known as gandusha is also used in Ayurveda for oral cleansing. Gandusha involves completely filling your mouth with oil and spitting it out after a short while. This is a noteworthy difference from kavalagraha, where the mouth is not completely filled with oil. In this case, there is space for the oil to be swished around before it is spat out.2

Though sesame oil is generally considered to be the best option for oil pulling, other edible oils like coconut and sunflower oil are also used. Let’s take a look at how this ancient treatment can be helpful to you.

Top 4 Benefits Of Oil Pulling

1. Reduce Plaque And Treat Gum Disease

Gingivitis (gum disease) is characterized by swollen, inflamed, and bleeding gums. It’s caused by a sticky bacterial substance called plaque. When left untreated, gingivitis can damage your jaw bone. It can also harm the tissues that hold your teeth in place, causing them to fall out. However, research has looked into the effectiveness of oil pulling as a treatment. One particular study involved two groups – one that used oil pulling and another that used chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial mouthwash designed to treat gum disease. For 10 days, the oil pulling group rinsed with sesame oil for 10 to 15 minutes. The other group rinsed with chlorhexidine for 1 minute before brushing their teeth in the morning. It was found that oil pulling was just as effective as chlorhexidine. To top it off, it did not have the side effects like stained teeth and altered taste associated with chlorhexidine.3

2. Kill Bacteria That Cause Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can damage the structure of your teeth, leading to pain, tooth loss, and infection. Luckily, oil pulling may protect your teeth. According to a study, bacteria in the mouth was reduced to an average of 20 percent after using sesame oil for 40 days. The study also found that sesame oil showed antibacterial activity against S. mutans and L. acidophilus, which are known to cause dental carries. The participants’ susceptibility to dental carries also reduced remarkably, with 50 percent dropping from marked susceptibility to slight susceptibility. The other 50 percent went from marked to moderate susceptibility.4Other edible oils like coconut and sunflower oil have also been found to be effective against oral microorganisms.5

3. Get Rid Of Bad Breath

Bad breath is a common problem that affects one in four people.6Bacteria produces toxins and breaks down food particles, causing an unpleasant smell. Thankfully, oil pulling can get rid of that stink. A study found that it was as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing bad breath and eliminating associated bacteria (T. denticola, P. gingivalis, and B. forsythus).7

4. Take Care Of Dry Mouth

According to research, oil pulling can also help a dry mouth. This can happen when you’re dehydrated or nervous. It can also occur if you have a blocked nose, forcing you to breathe through your mouth, or a condition like diabetes. Radiotherapy to the neck or head can also leave you with a dry mouth, as it can inflame salivary glands.8For example, a study observed dry mouth relief in radiotherapy patients with cancer of the head and neck. Researchers found that oil pulling was as effective as using artificial saliva.9

Better Health All Around

Aside from improving dental health, oil pulling is thought to have even larger benefits. When used regularly, Ayurveda considers it to be a rejuvenating treatment that can enhance your senses, invigorate your mind, help with loss of taste, improve impaired vision, and provide a feeling of freshness and clarity.10

Oil pulling is also considered to be beneficial for a range of disorders, from asthma to diabetes.11 According to Ayurveda, toxins (ama) are pulled out of the body during oil pulling. Experts agree that oil pulling removes harmful germs and waste products that lead to dental problems. Additionally, these germs can stress out the immune system, causing inflammation. It is thought that some of these benefits attributed to oil pulling could be due to its detoxifying effects.12

How To Do Oil Pulling

Ayurveda has specific instructions on how to oil pull. For best results, do it early in the morning on an empty stomach. Sit down comfortably with your chin up. Take a tablespoon of sesame oil into your mouth. Next, suck and pull it between your teeth for 10 to 15 minutes. This will turn the viscous oil thin and milky white. Spit the oil out, taking care to not swallow it. The oil now contains bacteria and toxins, after all. Follow up by brushing and rinsing as usual. Oil pulling can be done up to three times a day.

Keep in mind that oil pulling is not advised for children below five years old due to the danger of swallowing or choking. Also, remember that each child is different. If you feel that your child won’t be able to manage the process, don’t attempt it even if they are over five years of age.13

References   [ + ]

1, 3, 11. Asokan, Sharath, Pamela Emmadi, and Raghuraman Chamundeswari. “Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study.” Indian Journal of Dental Research 20, no. 1 (2009): 47.
2. Sirisha, Kondreddy, and P. Kamala Devi. “INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN DENTISTRY.”
4. An, T. Durai, C. Pothiraj, R. M. Gopinath, and B. Kayalvizhi. “Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria.” African Journal of Microbiology Research 2, no. 3 (2008): 63-66.
5. Thaweboon, Sroisiri, Jurai Nakaparksin, and Boonyanit Thaweboon. “Effect of oil-pulling on oral microorganisms in biofilm models.” Asia J Public Health 2, no. 2 (2011): 62-66.
6. Bad breath (halitosis). National Health Service.
7. Asokan, Sharath, R. Saravana Kumar, Pamela Emmadi, R. Raghuraman, and N. Sivakumar. “Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: A randomized controlled pilot trial.” Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry 29, no. 2 (2011): 90.
8. Dry mouth. National Health Service.
9. Walizer, E. M., and P. M. Ephraim. “Double-blind cross-over controlled clinical trial of vegetable oil versus xerolube for xerostomia: an expanded study abstract.” ORL-head and neck nursing: official journal of the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses 14, no. 1 (1995): 11-12.
10, 13. Sirisha, Kondreddy, and P. kamala Devi. “INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN DENTISTRY.”
12. Fife, Bruce. Oil pulling therapy: detoxifying and healing the body through oral cleansing. Piccadilly Books, 2008.