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Benefits of Oil Pulling
Our mouths are a reflection of the health inside our bodies. If you have poor dental health, you are bound to have other health problems. Despite regular brushing and flossing, approximately 90 percent of the population has some degree of gum disease or tooth decay. Most people aren’t even aware they have existing dental problems.
Recent research has demonstrated a direct link between oral health and chronic illness. Simply improving the health of your teeth and gums can cure many chronic problems. More brushing, flossing, and mouthwash is not always the best solution. What will work is oil pulling. Oil pulling is an age old method of oral cleansing originating from Ayurvedic medicine. It is one of the most powerful and effective methods of detoxification and healing in natural medicine.
What is Oil Pulling?
One of the practices of Ayurveda is oil pulling, or the act of swishing and rinsing your mouth with oil. Oil pulling has been used in traditional Indian folk remedies to prevent tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, and to strengthen your teeth and gums.
Oil pulling is an effective mechanical method of cleansing your teeth and the smallest crevices along your molars that the bristles of your brush cannot reach. Your dentist may have recommended using sealants on your teeth to help prevent decay from forming in these tiny areas.
In the past, popular oils for pulling were sesame and sunflower oils. However, those are high in omega-6 fats, which you likely get enough of each day. Cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil is my choice for a couple of reasons.
Bacteria is the root cause of bad breath and cavity formation in your teeth. They have membranes that are fat-soluble and break down with the mechanical action off swishing and pulling oil. Research demonstrates that pulling oils improvs saponification, or breakdown of bacterial membranes.
While sesame and sunflower oils may functionally break down bacteria, coconut oil adds another advantage. Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid found to inhibit Streptococcus mutans, the chief bacteria responsible for cavities.
Coconut oil also protects against yeast infections in the mouth, generally referred to as thrush. This condition is more common if your immune system is compromised, or may be experienced by infants or nursing mothers.
Oil Pulling Technique
Simply measure out about a tablespoon of coconut oil to pull. You may find this too much or not enough, but it’s a good place to start. Coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24.4 degrees Celsius) but will quickly liquify once you put it into your mouth and start moving it around.
Swish the oil around your mouth, using your tongue and cheeks to pull the oil through your teeth. Try to relax your jaw muscles to avoid muscle fatigue. The action is natural and usually won’t cause discomfort.
Although you’ll want to use it as if it were a mouthwash, you don’t want to gargle or swallow the oil you’ve been pulling. If you feel the urge to swallow, it is important that you spit it out and start again.
As you swish the oil around your mouth, it breaks down bacteria. Both saliva and bacteria become incorporated in the oil, which is why you do not want to swallow the oil as you swish. After approximately 20 minutes, the oil begins to get thick and milky white. Spit the oil into your garbage can or outdoors, but not on your plants.
Courtesy of Dr. Mercola and Dr. Bruce Fife