You've heard the term oil pulling, I'm sure. It's been making quite the splash, the term being thrown around as our latest health trend. But oil pulling is far from a fad or trend, it's an ancient Ayurvedic Indian tradition that has been around for thousands of years. It involves pulling oil through your teeth, or swishing it around your mouth, for up to 15 minutes a day. Why do this? The reasons are plenty. For starters, it destroys an array of oral microbes from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, it reduces plaque build up, whitens teeth, improves bad breath and detoxes the body.
Traditionally, the practice was used regularly to detoxify toxins from our mouths. Sounds weird? Well, not really. The fatty layers in our skin and mucosa linings are essentially dumping grounds for fat-soluble toxins (ie: heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, additives, environmental toxins). They get absorbed right into our bodies and collect in these tissues. The theory behind oil pulling is simple: like draws out like. Oils are lipophilic (they attract and are attracted to other fat solubles), so when we use the practice of oil pulling we are attracting many of these absorbed toxins discussed above out of our gums and mucosa linings, bringing them to the surface and riding them from our bodies. Modern studies have shown that not only does it have incredible benefits on oral health, but on systemic whole body health as well. Gum disease is caused by bacteria and inflammation, which may be a contributing factor for other other systemic diseases including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is suggested that the that oral bacteria enters into the blood stream through our tissues and mucosa linings and may affect other organs, like the heart, by attaching to the fatty plaques in our arteries. It can also contribute to clot formation, for example, in our brain, leading to stroke. Once again, this goes back to the 'like attracts like' theory we talked about above.
How to oil pull: Take 1 tablespoon of organic unrefined coconut oil and let it melt in your mouth. Pull it through you teeth and swish for 15 minutes. When you first begin you may only be able to do 1 teaspoon for 5 minutes- but that's okay! The muscles in your mouth will get stronger and eventually you can up the oil to a tablespoon and increase the time.
When to oil pull: I do this while I'm in the shower so it doesn't take time out of my day.
When you're done swishing, spit the oil out in the garbage. Do not spit it into the toilet or down the drain. This oil is bacteria ridden and needs to be disposed of. A few users reported spitting it in the toilet and flushing and after a week they had a black line brimming their toilet bowls. Yuck. It's also reported this can cause issues with your pipes if you make a habit of spitting it down a drain. So lets just avoid that and spit it in the trash.
You can add in things such as on guard blend or peppermint essential oils to increase to the effect of immune support and anti-inflammatory/anti-bacterial properties. Remember, when using essential oils- not all are created equal. Some are medicinal grade, others are not. For any type of internal application (swishing in your mouth is considered internal, I recommend doTERRA brand. For cleaning or diffusing purposes, I use NOW brand.
**Consult with your doctor before oil pulling if you are pregnant or have advanced stage gum disease.
Making Oil Pulling Tablets
Certainly you can just scoop oil from the jar every morning, but I prefer to keep little tablets on hand that are infused with essential oils.
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
20 drops of On Guard blend or peppermint essential oil, optional
Small silicon mold
In a pot over the top stove gently melt the oil over low heat. Remove from the stove and mix in the essential oils, if using. Fill your silicon molds with 1 teaspoon of oil per pocket, for starters, or up to 1 tablespoon of oil. Place in fridge and allow to cool for a minimum of 1 hour.
Gently pop the hardened oil out of the mold and place in an air tight jar. Store in a cold dry place so it doesn't melt. In Florida I'm have to leave mine in the fridge as coconut oil is liquid at room temperature almost year round. If you're a bit further north leaving it on the counter should be fine- just don't leave it in the bathroom as the steam from the shower will melt them!
Articles and Studies:
Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study.
Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study
Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health
Periodontal disease and systemic conditions: a bidirectional relationship
Inflammation as a potential mediator for the association between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease
The Truth About Oil Pulling
Oil Pulling Craze: All purpose remedy
The Single Most Effective Ayurvedic Practice for Your Mouth
How Coconut Oil Might Combat Tooth Decay
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