Because of our Asian background, when it comes to health, we usually take a holistic approach and always turn to Ayurvedic Medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Also known as Kavala, Oil Pulling is an Ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that consists in putting a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach and swish it around for 20 mins. It supposed to draw out all the toxins in your body to improve your oral health but also your overall health.
Ayurvedic medicine or Ayurveda is considered to the the world's oldest healthcare system. The world Ayurveda in Sanskrit means the "science of life".
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Some benefits of the Oil pulling method are:
*Better breath (say goodbye to horrible morning breath)
*Cavity and gingivitis prevention
*Stronger gums and teeth
*Alleviation of headaches, hangovers and skin tissues, and many more
But does it really do what it claims? It’s totally safe to try and it’s very inexpensive, so I can’t see any harm or downside in trying.
When you brush your teeth or using mouthwash, you only clean 10% of the surface of your mouth, so there is lot of area left to harbor and grow bacteria. The oil pulling technique reaches 100% of your mouth, from your gums, your tongue, and all the little gaps between your teeth.
What to do?
If the idea of putting oil in your mouth repulses you, because it did for me it’s quite gross the first time, swish a little amount for 5 mins. Once you get over that gag reflex, you need to choose “the oil” that will work for you. Just think how oil cleansing for your skin completely dissolves any traces of makeup and give you a perfectly cleaned skin. The oil does the same in your mouth, it removes all the toxins without disturbing the teeth or gums and is able to cut through plaque. The oil will combine with your saliva to create like a cleansing solution and as you swish it around, this solution will pull out the toxins, bacteria and microbes that are firmly held in your mouth. I have tried olive oil and sesame oil but I prefer the taste of coconut oil. I put it straight in my mouth as I am not really bothered with its solid form but you can melt it before. Coconut oil is antibacterial and has lots of other proven benefits too.
Oil pulling is most effective first thing in the morning as it’s the time of the day where the amount of bacteria in your mouth is the highest.
Oil Pulling Instructions:
1) Put 1 teaspoon of oil into the mouth. The oil traditionally used is organic sesame oil and this is also the oil that has been the most studied for use in oil pulling. But use whatever oil you prefer as long as it’s a good quality one.
2) Swish for 20 minutes. According to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy, the timing is key as it's long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. Extract from his book, oil pulling "soaks up or "pulls" disease-causing bacteria and their toxins out from around the teeth and gums, cleaning the mouth far better than any toothbrush or mouthwash. And when we remove the bacteria and toxins from our teeth, we free up our body to heal other things."
3) Swish slowly and move your tongue around gently. Remember that you need to do it for 20 mins so if you go hard straight away you will end up with a very stiff jaw. Also the oil will get thicker as it will draw out some saliva too, that’s why I suggest no more than a little tea spoon.
4) Spit oil into the trash can and not into the sink. The oil will solidify and may block your pipes. Do not swallow the oil as it is full of bacteria and toxins.
5) Rinse well with warm salt water, brush your teeth and floss well as normal.
We tried it:
I have started oil pulling couple of months ago and I can really notice a difference. My teeth are definitely whiter and cleaner with less plaque around the gums. It's now part of my daily morning routine: get up, put the oil in my mouth, start the 20 mins countdown and prep kids breakfast. Once you add it to your routine, the time actually goes very fast. Do not try to speak with the oil in your mouth as you could swallow it by accident and the last thing you want to do is swallow a mouthful of bacteria. Now for the other health benefits, I could not say but I have read other experiences and some of them have had their acne or skin problems reduced if not totally cleared up.
It's causing no harm in trying although if you want to see some results, you must stick to it for couple of weeks.
Happy Swishing x