Sometimes oral hygiene may be placed on the back burner in between your twice-a-year teeth cleaning. If you’re seeking another way to kick bacteria and plaque to the curb, look no further than oil pulling.
Also known as “Kavala” or “Gundusha,” oil pulling is the ancient Ayurvedic practice of swishing a plant-based oil in your mouth to draw out toxins from your body. Some reported benefits of oil pulling include: whiter teeth, prevention of cavities and gingivitis, and better breath.
Want to give it a try? Read on to learn how you can try oil pulling to get your biggest, brightest smile yet.
By: Emily Dinenberg
How It Works
Oil Pulling made its resurgence into modern popular culture in 1992 by Dr. F. Karach, MD. Dr. Karach believed that the process drew impurities from the body by dissolving toxins and bacteria, absorbing into skin through your mouth.
If you’re looking to improve your oral health, the best oil to use is coconut oil. This is because it contains many benefits that are lost in other oils.
Specifically, coconut oil contains a chain of fatty acids made of lauric acid. This acid has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects—perfect for adding extra oomph to your teeth-cleaning routine. Additionally, the antibiotic effects of coconut oil can stop the multiplication of Streptococcus bacteria, which can cause pink eye, strep throat, and even pneumonia.
Coconut oil is a very versatile ingredient. Check out these 4 ways to include coconut oil in your grooming routine.
How To Oil Pull
To follow Karach’s method:
- Choose a raw oil (traditionally Sunflower Oil, or Coconut Oil)
- Swish one to two tablespoons of oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes on an empty stomach two to three times a day
- After the allotted time is over, spit out the oil into a trash can (to prevent clogging your drain)
- Cleanse your mouth by swishing with salt water, then brushing your teeth as usual.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Although oil pulling cannot be used in place of regular dental hygiene, it should be used along with your regular brushing and flossing routine.
The main benefit of oil pulling is that it reduces harmful bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria create a film over your teeth known as plaque. Unfortunately, build-up of plaque can cause gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath. Oil pulling works as a preventative measure for these situations, as the oil swished around in your mouth picks up and dissolves this bacteria.
In addition, oil pulling can whiten your smile! The mechanical cleansing action helps lift stains from the outer layer of your teeth. Swishing oil in the mouth causes an emulsification process that allows the oil to “scrub” your teeth clean.
Branch out with other natural oils and learn about the amazing benefits of hemp oil for your body!
Understand The Effects
It is important to note that there are reported benefits of oil pulling, but it is not officially
recommended by the American Dental Association as a supplementary oral hygiene practice. This is because there is an insufficient amount of peer-reviewed scientific studies on the process. Additionally, the act of repeated swishing is not recommended for those with Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), or other jaw ailments. Finally, if swallowed in excess, oil pulling could cause lipoid pneumonia (which manifests through chronic cough and labored breathing), in addition to an upset stomach.
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With this in mind, if you’ve got 15 minutes and some extra coconut oil on hand, why not put away the harsh chemicals from your mouth wash, and give oil pulling a shot? Although it can’t replace your routine teeth-cleaning, oil pulling can act as a great natural supplemental therapy for your mouth. After a few weeks, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.
Have you ever tried oil pulling before? Share your smile results with us in the comments below!