Oil pulling has been commonly used in India for many centuries; it was introduced to the United States by Dr. F. Karach in the early 1990s. Many people now include this powerful detoxifying Ayurvedic technique in their morning regimen for dental health.
Oil Pulling and Dental Health Benefits
The Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita claims that oil pulling can cure approximately 30 diseases, including migraines, diabetes and asthma. Oil pulling has been used continuously for many centuries as a traditional Indian remedy for the prevention of tooth decay and bleeding gums, bad breath, dry throat and cracked lips. It is also used to strengthen the jaw, teeth and gums.
Toothbrushing and Medicinal Sticks
Toothbrushing in the morning and after each meal is recommended in Ayurveda and is done with a special little brush. (Sound familiar?) They went one step further and would chew a medicinal chewing stick in the morning and after meals for disease prevention. A Vaidya, or Ayurvedic doctor, would recommend the type of stick that would be best for an individual.
Dental health is an important element of Ayurvedic medicine and it is believed that poor oral health is linked to many diseases. Oil pulling is used as both a preventive measure and as a treatment.
Oil Pulling to Treat an Ailment
If someone has a mouth ulcer, is nauseous, is coughing, asthmatic or fevered, Ayurvedic medicine recommends oil pulling to clean the mouth. This oral cleansing technique is held to help with many medical issues, including bad breath, anorexia, exhaustion, impaired vision, heart problems, obesity and many other issues.
Oil Pulling and Heart Disease
Ayurvedic texts told of a relationship between poor dental health and heart disease. Modern researchers have found that periodontal disease, or infected gums, raises someone’s risk of having a heart attack by 25%. If oil pulling can clean the mouth, as believed to be true by millions of people, then it would seem to be worth doing simply to reduce the risk of having a heart attack.
How Does Oil Pulling Work?
The treatment has a natural cleansing effect on the mouth. As the oil is swished around, it creates friction in the mouth which safely and easily cleanses the mouth. This friction also has somewhat of a soap-like effect, so it actually does remove bacteria and other pathogens. Following the cleansing period, the oil is spit out or expelled from the mouth, taking along with it all of the toxins that were pulled from the body.
How to Do Oil Pulling
- First thing in the morning, before brushing teeth or eating, swish one teaspoon to one tablespoon of natural, food-quality oil (sesame, coconut, olive, sunflower or safflower) in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Many people find that they have to do it for a shorter time at first and gradually work up to the necessary 20 minutes.
- Do not gargle in your throat.
- The oil will be milky and foamy when ‘done’.
- Spit out, do not swallow the oil with all the ‘bad stuff’. Spit oil into trash can instead of sink (in order to avoid potential plumbing problems).
- Rinse mouth thoroughly with warm water or warm salt water.
- Brush teeth.
- Your mouth feels clean and fresh!
Pick the Best Oil for You
Although many oils can be used, sesame oil is frequently the oil of choice. The sesame plant is held to be an extremely beneficial plant, a gift of nature to mankind. Sesame oil is held to be the “queen” of oils.
Sandy, an Earth Clinic poster, assembled a list of various oils that could be used in oil pulling and included the benefits of each oil. Thank you, Sandy!
What are the Oral Health Benefits of Oil Pulling?
While many different benefits from oil pulling, there have been many studies worldwide on improved oral health associated with oil pulling. The oral health benefits claimed for oil pulling include:
- Reduction in the prevalence of Streptococcus Mutans in the mouth (the main bacteria in the mouth and the key factor in plaque buildup and tooth decay);
- Decreased inflammation in the gums;
- Relief of gingivitis;
- Improved breath freshness;
- Decreased tooth sensitivity;
- Restored tooth enamel;
- Increased tooth whitening;
- Strengthened teeth, gums and jaw;
- Relief of TMJ and other jaw issues.
The Gingivitis Study
Gingivitis is a bacterial gum infection. Untreated, it worsens and becomes periodontal disease. In 2009, a study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of oil pulling with sesame oil on plaque-induced gingivitis compared to chlorhexidine mouthwash. One group did oil pulling while the other group used the mouthwash. Both groups showed significant reductions in plaque and the gingival index scores. The oil pulling group also showed a reduction in the number of aerobic microorganisms.
Oil pulling is essentially used in place of gargling or mouthwash. It is just as effective as traditional mouthwash and offers added health benefits.
Oil pulling is simple and very inexpensive to do. It is safe and a great many people have found it to be very effective. If you already are an oil pulling enthusiast, please contact us and let us know how it has helped you.
How Oil Pulling has Helped Earth Clinic Readers
Perla wrote us about the positive changes to her teeth and health after one year of oil pulling.
“I’ve been oil pulling for just over one year. I’ve been alternating virgin, organic sesame oil and virgin, organic coconut oil for 20 minutes every morning. I’m happy to say that my seasonal allergies are gone, my health has been good and I’ve noticed white(r) teeth and better skin.
My favorite visible changes are the positive changes with my teeth. My teeth had yellow lines of Fluorosis since my kindergarten picture. (I’d also been given multiple metal fillings in my childhood. I’ve begun replacing them with porcelain as I can afford to safely remove them.) With OP, I’ve noticed a lot less yellow as well as the disappearance of vertical grooves on my teeth.
I’d also developed a couple of growths on my cheek about 10 years ago. After about 8 months of OP I noticed the growths were getting smaller. One of them is almost gone, the other remains but seems to be decreasing.
If teeth and mouth health is indicative of the health of our entire body, my health is improving. I recommend this process to anyone that is interested!”
To read more oil pulling reviews, go to the Oil Pulling pages.
The History of Ayurveda and Oil Pulling
For thousands of years, people have been using oil pulling to improve their dental health and a variety of ailments. These ancient peoples were intelligent and very observant of the natural world. Like us, they suffered from minor health issues and life-threatening illnesses. Unlike us, their health resources were limited to what could be found in the world around them. It is likely that most people knew and used many natural health remedies. Those who learned and studied these health-giving plants for their entire lives and taught others what they learned would have been valuable members of their society.
In essence, we are no different from those who lived long ago. Toothaches, for example, have always plagued people. Learning to keep their teeth healthy was of critical importance; there was no way to replace a lost tooth. Any practices that worked would have been used and passed down through the generations. That is how medical knowledge has developed in many societies over time, including Ayurvedic medicine in India.
Ayurveda means “knowledge” and “life.” It is focused on prevention as well as treatment, a practical approach. For many centuries, the knowledge contained in the texts has been used to improve the lives of millions of people. This knowledge was empirical, or verified by knowledge and experience rather than by scientific testing, as we do today. Why something worked did not matter nearly as much as the fact that it did work. Many of the texts were practical descriptions of treatments, detailing what to use, and when and how to use it, rather like medical cookbooks.