A much-researched ancient folk remedy, the practice of oil pulling which has been reinvented and promoted vociferously, ranks as an oral health practice that offers a lot of benefits.
Oil pulling dates back to thousands of years, having originated in India as a part of natural healing practices advocated by Ayurvedic texts. It involves swishing or holding oil in the mouth for a few minutes to bestow health benefits. Sesame and coconut oils were popular for oil pulling. Ayurveda mentions two methods of oil pulling. In Gandusha, the mouth is filled with oil, held for about five minutes and spat out. In Kavala Graha, only as much oil as is comfortable is held in the mouth. Sunflower, olive and palm oils can also be used in oil pulling.
The benefits of oil pulling
- The mouth is home to countless bacteria, fungi, viruses and toxins. Regular oil pulling helps in cleansing the mouth and prevents these microorganisms from entering the body.
- Oil pulling lessens the burden of the immune system by removing these invaders and helps prevent inflammation of internal organs.
- By strengthening the immune system and cleaning out toxic wastes, oil pulling pushes up our energy levels.
- Oil pulling is believed to prevent bleeding gums, mouth odor, throat dryness, decay of gums, cracked lips and is also known to strengthen teeth, gums and the jaw.
- Oil pulling offers dental benefits such as strengthening gums, whitening teeth and eliminating plaque.
- Oil pulling is used as a treatment for TMJ, an affliction of the jaw.
- A study reported that oil pulling using sesame oil reduced plaque, modified gingival sores and reduced microorganisms.
- Another study said that oil pulling reduced oral malodor and microbes as effectively as chlorhexidine treatment.
- By removing toxins, oil pulling keeps the skin clear and glowing.
- Hormones function at their optimum best, the body being cleared of toxins and microorganisms.
- It is believed oil pulling reduces headaches due to stress by removing stress-inducing toxins.
- Oil pulling improves oral hygiene and health by reducing formation of tooth cavities and eliminating bad breath. It removes streptococcus mutant bacteria that causes tooth decay and helps reduce plaque-induced gingivitis.
Points to ponder
- Oil pulling is a health and hygiene routine and should not replace treatments or regular brushing of teeth.
- Only pure oil, free from additives, must be used for oil pulling.
- Care should be taken to prevent oil from entering the lungs.
- Ensure you do not swallow the oil as you will ingest the toxins and microorganisms you are trying to get rid of.
- Spit off the oil completely and rinse the mouth with water after the oil pulling exercise.
- Brush your teeth with a good toothpaste after this.