BY NICK LASKY, FOOD ADVOCATE
Oil pulling is a 3,000-year-old ancient Ayurvedic oral hygiene practice that involves swishing or holding oils from plants and other natural sources in the mouth for long periods of time (usually 15-25 minutes). Dr. F Karach, a Ukrainian oncologist, helped introduce oil pulling to the mainstream population by announcing to his colleagues at a 1992 conference for oncologists and bacteriologists that he had cured his leukemia and arthritis by practicing oil pulling on a daily basis. Since then, believers tout many benefits including healthier gums, whiter teeth, and even reversing cavities.
I was turned on to oil pulling a few years ago when I had a cavity scare. I had always taken good care of my teeth and never gotten a cavity in my life and then all of a sudden my dentist told me that I have four cavities! I could already hear the shrilly sound of a drill playing in my head and immediately became determined to find a remedy that did not require getting fillings. A friend told me to try oil pulling. So I did my research, committed to a daily practice, and within a few months I was totally onboard the oil pulling train. I was not able to save all of my teeth but I did reverse two cavities onto the “keep an eye on it” list, and they have continued to improve ever since.
On top of that I noticed several other positive effects for me as well.
So what can oil pulling do for you? Here are some Potential Benefits:
1. Preventing Tooth Decay – (Sometimes also reversing tooth decay like in my case).
2. Removing bad breath.
3. Whitens teeth (I noticed this).
4. Heals bleeding gums.
5. Improves skin and acne.
6. Strengthens teeth, gums, and jaw (I also noticed this).
7. Heals cracked lips.
So oil pulling sounds great in theory, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Here are a few significant scientific studies that prove it is:
One study found that oil pulling significantly reduces plaque-induced gingivitis.
This study found that oil pulling was equally as effective at reducing bad bacteria in your mouth as Chlorohexidine (prescription-strength germicidal mouthwash).
HOW TO DO IT !
1. Use coconut, sesame, and/or sunflower oil (I prefer to trade off between coconut and sesame oil each day)
2. Scoop approximately one tablespoon in your mouth and swish for 15-25 minutes first thing in the morning (I also swash with water and sea salt beforehand to kill bacteria that might have grown in the mouth overnight)
3. Swish gently and slowly, otherwise you will hurt your jaw
4. DO NOT SWALLOW OR GARGLE THE OIL (As bacteria will steadily be incorporated into the oil). (This is an important tip) !
5. Spit your oil out in the trash or outside in the grass, NOT the sink, else you might clog your drain.
6. Rinse your mouth with water (Add sea salt for a greater cleanse.)
7. Brush your teeth as normal.
Tips: – It is commonly recommended to pull first thing in the morning before you drink or eat anything else . – If you use coconut oil and it has hardened, it may take 20 seconds or so for the oil to melt into liquid form in your mouth… this is normal – Do not oil pull when you will need to communicate with anyone because you won’t be able to talk with oil in your mouth! – Add it to your morning routing and oil pull while you shower to save time – Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water you rinse with afterwards to create a greater alkaline environment in your mouth – If you want to kick the effects up a notch, do it a second time just before you go to sleep at night – You can also add a drop of essential oil for additional beneficial effects and flavor such as peppermint, clove, frankincense, or tea tree oil)
How long do you need to do this until you will see results?
I personally felt a much cleaner, healthier mouth after the first few times I tried oil pulling. It took several months of disciplined pulling every day to reverse my tooth decay. – Try it every morning for a few weeks and then if you desire, you may cut back to a few times a week. – If you want to do some serious healing or detox work then go for twice a day until you notice a significant change in your oral health. Despite all of these wonderful benefits, it is not recommended to use oil pulling to replace your other oral care habits! Simply add it on to whatever your current regimen is. But don’t take my word for it. Go try it yourself!