Oil pulling comes from the Ayurvedic traditions in India, going back as far as 3,000 – 5,000 years. It involves swirling of oil in ones mouth to eliminate plaque, whiten teeth, strengthen gums and combat bad breath. It is also said to get rid of oil soluble toxins in the body. Thousands of different types of bacteria live in our mouth creating plaque, a ‘biofilm’ that adheres to our teeth. If the bacteria gets out of control it can cause cavities, gum inflammation, gingivitis etc. Bacteria and infection can enter the blood stream through the mouth, so good mouth care is vital.
How it works
- Micro organisms are single celled so when oil pulling they stick to the fats, removing toxins and cutting through plaque
- The mechanical action of swirling also assists in the breaking down of plaque and can get in between your teeth and to those hard to reach places.
- It moisturises the gums and mouth which assists as a dry mouth increase bacteria growth.
There are also testimonials of people saying it helps with all sorts of conditions from headaches, to liver problems, to asthma, praising it as a cure for around 30 diseases.
Oil pulling can be done with various oils such a sunflower, coconut and sesame. Choose a good quality, non-refined oil. It was traditionally done with sesame seed oil, which has lots of antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Coconut oil is my preferred option and is excellent for oral hygiene. It contains Vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, and also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties thanks to the lauric acid and monolaurin. Mixed with baking soda, coconut oil proves to be a great natural toothpaste.
When combined with digestive enzymes, coconut oil is is harmful to Candida and is also known to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans – a sugar-loving bacterium that clings to teeth and produces acid, causing them to rot. With both of these commonly living in ones mouth, oil pulling with coconut oil helps reduce the overall toxic burden on your immune system caused by the spread of them through your body.
As with many alternative health approaches, there are claims that feel the science behind oil pulling is unsubstantiated. For me it makes total sense to choose an organic, antibacterial, anti fungal treatment, over something high in toxic chemicals and alcohol that’s abrasive to your teeth. Some studies have shown that oil pulling it is not as effective as Chlorhexidine, but Chlorhexidine is suspected to relate to respiratory and immunotoxicity, and may cause anaphylactic reactions, skin irritation as well as asthma.