Oil Pulling: What it is and why you should try it!
Ever heard of the saying “healthy mouth and a healthy tongue leads to a healthy body”?
In all honesty, I hadn’t either. But after reading up on the Ayurvedic practice of Oil Pulling, which has been growing more and more popular over the recent years as a complementary oral hygiene practice, I’m starting to believe that there may be some truth to this statement.
So, what exactly is oil pulling, and is this something that you should be implementing into your oral hygiene routine? Through this blogpost, I hope to outline some of the reasons why you may in fact want to give oil pulling a shot, as well as the best and easiest way for you to do so!
What is Oil Pulling?
If you’re only just hearing about the term oil pulling now, then I can assure you that you’re definitely not alone. Surprisingly, the Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling has been around for more than 3000 years and continues to be practiced around the globe for its numerous benefits. These benefits are considered to go beyond simply oral hygiene, being beneficial more generally for the wellbeing and balance of your body.
So, what exactly is this practice? In short, oil pulling is the ‘swishing’ of coconut oil (or an alternative vegetable oil) in your mouth and between your teeth for about 5-20 minutes every morning before brushing your teeth. In doing so, the coconut oil is supposedly ‘pulling out’ and absorbing toxins directly from your tongue, whether these are chemical, bacterial or even environmental toxins.
According to Ayurveda, through the simple (I say simple but it’s rather strenuous the longer you go) practice of gurgling and swishing oil in your mouth, you are essentially detoxifying and purifying your entire body. As an ancient practice, oil pulling was prescribed to treat imbalances of the ‘Doshas’ being the 3 elements, or 3 bodily forces in Ayurvedic medicine that bring your body health when in balance. Oil pulling was further also prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat issues ranging from inflammation in the mouth and gums, to dryness, as well as other oral problems and diseases.
More traditionally, oil pulling would be done with sesame oil. In the late 90s however, research into the health benefits of cold-pressed oils uncovered the ‘miracle’ that is coconut oil. The popularity of coconut oil coincided with the growing popularity of oil pulling, making coconut oil one of the most desired and effective oils for this practice.
While you may only be hearing of this now, oil pulling is a practice that people have sworn by for centuries. So, what are some of the benefits that Ayurveda claims this practice to have?
What are the benefits of Oil Pulling?
Coconut oil has been shown to have very effective anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it perfect for getting rid of harmful bacteria. Believe it or not but our mouths are home to hundreds of different types of bacteria. Since our mouths are directly connected to our esophagus, nasal passages, sinuses and ear cavities, it isn’t hard to assume that bad oral hygiene can have a negative effect on our general health! It’s these bacteria in our mouths, such as the streptococcus, that have been seen as the root cause of tooth decay, bad breath as well as gum diseases and infections (such as gingivitis). The process of oil pulling with coconut oil has been shown to be particularly powerful when it comes to eliminating these harmful bacteria.
Main benefits of Oil Pulling:
- Kills harmful bacteria in the mouth
- Reduces and prevents tooth decay and cavities
- Reduces inflammation leading to healthier gums
- Fresher breath
- Alleviates sore/dry throat and cracked lips
- Reduces and removes plaque
- Whitens teeth
In addition to these benefits, the non-aggressive nature of natural oils allows for this cleansing process to be achieved without disturbing the balance of the oral microbiome necessary for a healthy mouth. While the scientific research and evidence into oil pulling is still lacking significantly, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that claims the many benefits of this practice.
How to properly practice Oil Pulling:
Now that we know some of the reasons why you may want to add oil pulling into your oral hygiene routine, what are the proper steps that you should follow?
- Start your oil pulling in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Either take 1 tablespoon of pure organic coconut oil, or 1-2 teaspoons of our Georganics Oil Pulling Mouthwash and start swishing the oil around in your mouth.
- The Georganics oil will already be liquid and therefore easier to swish between your teeth. If you’re using pure coconut oil, you may need a minute for the oil to melt in your mouth. Note that this process may take some getting used to!
- Some people like to do this while in the shower, or while getting ready.
What about the Georganics Oil Pulling Mouthwash?
Pick the perfect one to suit your needs!
As an alternative to using pure coconut oil, the Georganics oil pulling mouthwash line that we sell uses different essential oils to target some more personal and specific needs that you may have. These will be outlined below.
- English Peppermint – Peppermint and coconut oil hold extremely effective anti-anaerobic properties, attacking the bacteria that thrive in our mouth. This mouthwash is perfect for attacking these bacteria and leaves your mouth and teeth feeling super fresh!
- Activated charcoal – This mouthwash contains activated charcoal collected from coconut shells. The activated charcoal traps bacteria and removes stains, cleansing and whitening your teeth naturally.
- Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus essential oil helps to fight the germs that can cause bad breath, and can provide your mouth with a refreshing and cooling feel.
- Tea Tree – Tea tree essential oil has naturally antiseptic and cleansing properties, which in the past have been used to treat cuts and burns. This makes it a great solution for helping and healing gum issues and diseases.
- Orange – Orange is known for its superior but gentle soothing properties. This makes it perfect to use for children and pregnant women as well.
Please consider the following before you try oil pulling:
- Do not use this method if you have a known allergy to coconut oil. Sesame oil can be used as an alternative to this however the proportions of how much to use should be researched prior.
- Oil pulling does not replace brushing and flossing teeth, it should be seen as complementary to your existing dental care routine.
- Primary benefits of oil pulling are based on anecdotal evidence rather than extensive scientific research. This should not be considered a ‘miracle cure’ for more serious oral issues and diseases. Always consult your dentist if you have serious oral complaints.
Written by Johanna Bismann