Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for cleaning your teeth and improving your oral health.
It’s a surprisingly simple but effective way to clean and whiten your teeth, reduce bacteria and toxins in the mouth, and even help fight cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
In some ways, it acts like a mouthwash. But unlike alcohol-based mouthwashes that you spit out after 30 seconds, oil pulling involves swishing a plant-based oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes. This allows the oil to absorb toxins, bacteria, and other microorganisms that lurk in the deepest crevices of your mouth, where brushing, flossing, and quick rinses with mouthwash can’t reach.
How to Perform Oil Pulling
You can use any type of vegetable oil that you have in your kitchen, but keep in mind that you’ll need to hold the oil in your mouth for at least 10-15 minutes. This means that you’ll want to choose an oil with a pleasant flavor, such as sesame, sunflower, or high-quality olive oil.
The preferred oil that most people use is coconut oil. This oil has a much more palatable flavor and texture, and it may also provide some additional benefits due to its lauric acid content.
Once you have your oil of choice, the process for oil pulling is simple and straightforward:
- Measure out one tablespoon of oil. If you are just starting out, it may be easier to try smaller amounts.
- Put the oil in your mouth and begin to swish it around for 10-15 minutes.
- Make sure you swish the oil thoroughly and vigorously so that it reaches all parts of your mouth.
- Spit out the oil in the trash when you are finished.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water, then brush and floss as usual.
Do not spit it out down the drain, as it may clog your pipes.
Do not swallow it, as it will be full of toxins and bacteria that you don’t want to ingest.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Alcohol-based mouthwashes work by quickly killing bacteria in your mouth. But because of how corrosive they are, the quick rinse may leave out some of the deeper layers of your mouth.
Oil pulling, on the other hand, is a more elongated and thorough process that goes much deeper to clean away bacteria and toxins from all parts of your mouth. The oil doesn’t kill the bacteria in the same way that alcohol does. Instead, the fatty lipids in the oil bind to the fatty lipids in the cell membranes of microorganisms, causing them to disintegrate and eventually be eliminated from the mouth.
This antimicrobial effect helps to reduce cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. It also helps to improve your overall oral health, which in turn may help you live a longer, healthier life.
When it comes to oil pulling, there are a few additional considerations that you should keep in mind.
The duration of the oil pulling process is generally recommended to be between 10-15 minutes. But the feeling and taste may require some getting used to. When you first start out, you may want to try just 3-5 minutes and slowly increase the time as you get used to it.
It’s also important to note that oil pulling is not a replacement for other oral care routines. Oil pulling is an additional routine that may provide added benefits for your oral health. You should still brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist frequently.
If you are new to oil pulling, or if you have any other questions or concerns about this practice, it’s always best to talk to your dentist before starting. They can provide advice and guidance on how to properly perform the process and make sure that it won’t interfere with any other treatments or medications.