“You have to clean your teeth with oil,” when I heard this from a friend, I was surprised. The first thought that crossed my mind was, who does that? Oil is fine in food, but to put it straight in the mouth to clean it does sound a little, well, repulsive!
A little more research about oil-pulling benefits convinced me that this is one thing that I should definitely try to keep my teeth and gums super shiny and healthy. This article, in a way, is going to explore just that; why you should reach for oil before the more conventional toothpaste.
What is Oil-Pulling?
First things first, what exactly is oil pulling and why is that everyone is suddenly going ga-ga over this particular health ritual, considering it has been there for ages?
An ancient Ayurvedic ritual which dates back to over 3,000 years, oil pulling is all about placing a tablespoon of extra virgin organic cold pressed oil, coconut oil preferably, (but some people use sesame oil or olive oil) into your mouth and then swishing it around for a good 20 minutes. You can start with 5 minutes, as oil pulling does take time getting used to. Pull it between your teeth, before spitting it out.
It might be difficult to master it right at the beginning, so whatever you do, do not swallow the oil as you will end up ingesting the very toxins you are trying to eliminate. Of course, you need to brush your teeth with all-natural fluoride-free toothpaste and rinse your mouth afterward.
History of Oil-pulling
Oil pulling originated in India and was regarded as part of natural healing practice, as described in ancient Ayurveda texts. Ayurveda is a holistic practice which has its roots steeped in history. In fact, it dates back to as many as 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.
The oral health practices, as endorsed by Ayurveda, include chewing on sticks, eating herbs, and of course, oil pulling.
The Original practitioners of oil pulling, used oils such as sunflower and sesame oils. This was the best way to prevent bleeding gums, tooth decay, throat dryness, cracked lips, oral malodor, and for bestowing strength to the teeth, gums and the jaw.
Gandusha and Kavala Graha are what it is called traditionally, and these practices have varied processes. In Gandusha, the mouth is filled with oil first, held for a good three to five minutes and then finally spit out.
In Kavala Graha, only a small amount of oil is put inside the mouth. Then, the oil is kept inside for a good three minutes, gargled thoroughly, and spit out.
Benefits of Oil-pulling
So even if it seems difficult to do on paper, it is a pretty simple ritual to follow! But before you start off with this oil-pulling ritual, here are some of its benefits.
1. It keeps your teeth dazzling white- There is no need to make a beeline to your dentist’s chamber for chemical teeth whitening strips, now you have a natural way of whitening your teeth, with oil pulling!
The oil, particularly organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, contains natural antibiotic and antiviral properties that tend to brighten your teeth, retaining its pearly brilliance.
Following this ritual for just three to four weeks shows exemplar results.
Even celebrities are said to be endorsing this ancient practice. So, now we know their best-kept secret!
2. Catapults your energy to another level- Our immune system is always on an overdrive, trying to get rid of the accumulated toxins in our body. Toxins drain out our energy levels.
So, once you start to oil-pull, you pull out all those deadly culprits that pull your health down. Additionally, you reduce the work your immune system has to do, which immediately freshens us up, making us feel like a whole new person.
3. Triggers off the detoxification process- Too much accumulation of germs in the body acts like poison, causing inflammation, which can then lead to chronic diseases.
The mouth is said to be an entrance for germs which leads to illness. So to coerce the body to go into detox mode, you need to incorporate the habit of oil-pulling, to enable detoxification.
4. Ensures hormonal balance- Since oil-pulling gets rid of all kinds of foreign substances that disrupt your hormonal balance, your body functions at an optimal level.
5. Get rid of headaches- When you are under severe stress, you tend to have more headaches and migraines. This is your body’s way of protesting and letting you know that it’s being burdened by toxins and needs time to recover. With oil-pulling, you are able to get rid of bacteria, and hence able to enjoy stress-free and headache-free days.
6. Keeps your skin glowing- The wonderful benefits of oil pulling even extend to your skin health. Too many toxins in your body can filter into your bloodstream and affect your skin. Once you are able to get rid of the toxins, your skin gets rejuvenated. You will be able to flaunt a clear, glowing complexion, bereft of all rashes, acne and other skin issues.
7. Maintains oral hygiene- If you suffer from bad breath and tooth cavities, then the best way to eradicate such problems is to resort to oil-pulling. The streptococcus mutant bacterium, which is the chief cause of tooth decay, is the reason you suffer from bad oral health. It is also a great way to treat plaque-induced gingivitis.
Some More Benefits of Oil-pulling
There are just so many wonderful benefits to oil pulling. It also helps you sleep better, reduce allergies and provide natural pain relief.
There may be some weight loss benefits to oil pulling too. Though there hasn’t been any scientific evidence backing this bit of information, some individuals have seen astonishing results with oil-pulling, even weight loss.
Your organs will work at an optimum level, because of a lack of toxin build up, and you’re more likely to stick to a healthier and nutritious diet to help encourage all the wonderful benefits of oil pulling to take place.
Why should you consider Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil?
Though organic sesame oil or olive oil has been used, coconut oil is considered to be the most preferred choice for oil-pulling. Here’s why you should choose coconut oil over other oils.
- It balances hormones
- Improves digestion
- Kills candida
- Moisturizes your skin
- Reduces cellulite
- Decreases wrinkles and age spots
- Balances blood sugar and improves energy
- Improves the condition of Alzheimer’s
- Burns fat
- Increases HDL and lower LDL cholesterol
Because it is highly absorbable, you can experience many of these benefits simply by oil pulling!
The Impact of Dental Health on Your Physical Health
Your oral health is not restricted to your teeth and gums alone, it also has a profound systemic impact on your physical health. Your mouth can be regarded as a window to your health, as you can evaluate the health of your gums and soft tissue to understand overall health.
Your mouth is, as we have discussed, a gateway for pathogens and toxins. Recent research has substantiated that oral infections are linked to diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and cardiovascular disease.
Poor dental health has also been linked to dementia.
An Oral Health Plan you should follow
You must care for your teeth and gums to maintain your overall health and wellness. It’s important to take everything into perspective: your nutrition, your oral care and the products you use to address all your oral problems. There are some guidelines you must follow to improve your oral health, and consequently, your overall health too.
- Use toothpaste with natural ingredients- To ensure that your oral health remains top-notch, see that you use toothpaste which contains ingredients such as coconut oil, baking soda, and some essential oils.
To maintain optimal health, you must go as chemical-free as possible. The more preservatives and additives you expose yourself too, the greater your chances of putting your health at risk. Natural remedies are easier on your pockets and are highly effective, minus the harmful side –effects, reason enough for you to ditch the artificial and embrace the all-natural.
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet- A diet rich in fresh, whole foods, good fats, grass-fed meats, and probiotics helps ensure you replenish your body of all the required minerals for strong bones and teeth.
- Floss and brush daily- Some people brush their teeth as if their toothbrush is the weapon and their teeth the enemies. Be a little kind to your teeth and brush your teeth gently, as over brushing along the gum line can cause damage to your gum tissue which forms pockets along the teeth. These are the areas where bacterial growth is rampant.
Some Tips to Remember
While undoubtedly there are far too many health benefits to ignore oil-pulling, you still need to use this trick sensibly. This ritual is not something to replace your daily oral care, namely your regular brushing and flossing routine. It can replace your chemical filled mouthwash, though, but not all the rest.
It’s not something which will help you get rid of all the plaque that can often get stuck between the teeth and inside the lining of the gums. If you only oil-pull and skip brushing, you will still find that you might end up with cavities.
Also, it won’t stop some problems in your jaw, for example teeth grinding. Also, it’s not the one stop medicine for all your oral problems. It might treat some problems, but you still have to sit on the much-abhorred dentist’s chair, to cater to problems related to your teeth.
Oil pulling can be a part of a healthy dental regime, but it isn’t the entire regime, oil-pulling benefits are numerous, but it cannot solve all your teeth related problems.
It’s all about using everything together in tandem for the benefit of your health. There is still a lot of research to undersrand whether oil pulling is really that beneficial. Some researchers have claimed that oil pulling is not all that great, and only keeps your teeth clean, little else.
However, some people have noticed most of the benefits already mentioned above. When it comes to complete oral hygiene, coconut oil pulling is something worth adding to the list of things you need to do, and can replace your expensive mouth wash.
Oil-pulling might make you gag at first, and might seem an intimidating thing to do straight up first thing in the morning. Some people might not find it a nice way to get rid of their morning grogginess. But the best part of using coconut oil for teeth is that it does not have any side-effects.
Make sure you find the right oil for you. Though coconut oil works for most people, for people living in the colder climes, putting a lot of solidified oil in your mouth might not seem nice. Also, one tablespoon is quite a lot for most people, so decide on the amount yourself. A little bit works too; just remember to spit it out instead of swallowing it in.
This is enough to get us hooked onto this ancient regime. If it has helped our ancestors, it should help us as well. Now we cannot wait to discover some of the other benefits. We have certainly made this a part of our daily regime, what about you? Are you willing to give coconut oil pulling a try?