Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual that dates back over 3,000 years. We don’t blame you for being skeptical – we were too. That was until we tried it.
Oil pulling isn’t very technical at all. It involves swirling oil around in your mouth. Simple right? Too simple? Possibly, but the fact remains this not so modern method of swirling oil around in your mouth has loads of benefits, including fresh breath, white teeth, and even clearer skin. Keen to find out more?
Early man most certainly didn’t grow up using toothpaste like we do, yet archeological findings suggest that most people lived (and died) with a lot of their teeth in place and most in a healthy state. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for us. We’re plagued with tooth decay, halitosis, gingivitis, and cavities.
How Does Oil Pulling Work?
Clearly, our ancestors were onto something with oil pulling, but how exactly does it work? Gandusha or Kavala Graha is an oral detox procedure that’s done by swishing (or pulling) oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes at a time. Just like soap cleans dirty dishes or stains on clothes, the action of swirling oil around draws out the bacteria and toxins on your mouth, creating a clean environment for the dental liquid that prevents cavities and mouth disease to flow freely.
The premise behind oil pulling is that by ridding your mouth of all the nasties, you’re leaving your immune system free to focus on more important things like reducing stress and inflammation and aiding your overall well-being.
Which Oils Should You Use?
So we know oil pulling has a number of benefits but is there an oil that works better than another or are they all equally effective? The most common ones include:
People also swear by:
- Cod Liver
- Black cumin seed
However, according to studies done at the Athlone Institute of Technology, coconut oil was the only one that prevented the acid-producing, tooth decay bacterium Streptococcus mutans from sticking to, and destroying tooth enamel. Coconut oil is also known to:
- Kill Candida
- Improve digestion
- Improve Alzheimer’s
- Balance hormones
- Increase energy levels and balance blood sugar levels
- Increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and lower the bad kind, LDL cholesterol
Whichever oil you decide to use, make sure it’s unrefined and in its most pure form.
Even though you might poo-poo it, it’s a practice that has been used for centuries as an Indian remedy to cure a wide range of maladies, which is why we think you should at least give it a try. Because what have you got to lose?
11 Amazing Oil Pulling Benefits
1. Whitens Teeth
Too much tea and coffee, smoking, and age are just a few of the factors that cause our shiny whites to become discolored over time. Oil pulling not only removes stubborn plaque, it will also whiten your teeth, giving you lots to smile about. If you’re already using one of the ready-to-use teeth whitening kits, oil pulling might help with the process.
2. Freshens Breath
There are loads of really good mouthwashes available that will freshen your breath, but there are a few that probably aren’t good for you (hence the reason you’re told not to swallow it). Oil pulling, by cleaning the rest of your mouth, will reduce the dreaded “death-breath”.
3. Can Prevent Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a common oral disease and causes redness, irritated gums, and bad breath. If left untreated it can lead to more serious health issues. Oil pulling with coconut oil, sesame oil or sunflower oil will help prevent gingivitis.
4. Reduces Teeth Sensitivity
According to oil pulling people, they noticed a significant reduction in their teeth’s sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli. While there hasn’t been a lot of research with regards to this, if oil pulling can help with tooth decay, inflamed gums and gingivitis, it’ll definitely help with the problem of sensitive teeth.
5. Helps With Problem Skin
Applying coconut oil directly to your skin improves its condition, but when you do oil pulling on a regular basis the benefits work from the inside out. There are some great spot treatments that will help take care of the rogue breakout, but coconut oil works deep down inside, giving you a gorgeous glowing skin.
6. Boosts Your Immunity
One of the best ways to boost your immunity is by removing the unhealthy bacteria and toxins from your system, which oil pulling does. Your immune system is free to focus on the important stuff, like keeping you healthy, rather than working all day to stop you getting sick.
7. Promotes a Healthy Heart
Sandra Maldovan, a periodontist and nutritionist, firmly believes that good oral health equals good overall health. And she’s not the only expert who thinks so. Recent studies show that dental hygiene does so much more than keep your teeth healthy and breath fresh. It also reduces the risk of a stroke and heart disease.
8. Can Help with Erectile Dysfunction
Okay, we’re not saying oil pulling is going to cure erectile dysfunction (ED), but we do know that it helps reduce the risk of periodontal disease. What’s the link you ask? Studies show that men with ED are usually diagnosed with chronic periodontal disease. You do the math.
9. Improve Your Energy
We’re not saying you’re going to be running and jumping on the beach when you start doing regular oil pulling, but we do know that you’ll have a lot more energy than normal. Fewer toxins in your body means a healthier immune system. And a healthy immune system means your energy reserves runneth over, giving you a whole new lease on life.
10. Can Help with Hormonal Changes
When your hormones aren’t having to spend their time competing with bacteria, viruses and other foreign things they’re left to do what they’re supposed. Which is function properly without being becoming imbalanced.
11. Can Reduce Headaches
Not only are we cursed with headaches, we also have rebound headaches, which is your body’s way of saying “enough is enough”. By removing all the toxins from our system, we are able to lessen the number of headaches and migraines, as well as their severity.
12. Can Assist with Rheumatoid Arthritis
The oils used for oil pulling contain lauric acid, a chemical that acts as an anti-inflammatory.This doesn’t only mean reduced swelling of the gums, but reduced inflammation levels throughout your whole body. This in turn alleviates the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
13. Help With a Full Body Detox
At any given time we have about 100 – 200 types of germs living in our mouth. People who brush and floss regularly could have anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 bacteria on each tooth. If you think that’s scary, a person who doesn’t practice good oral hygiene could have 100 million – 1 billion per tooth. Oil pulling gets rid of the germs from the source, and helps your body undergo a complete detox.
14. It Can Help With Leaky Gut
Here’s something you probably didn’t know. The bacteria that’s responsible for gum disease is also responsible for leaky gut. While you’ve probably heard the term thrown around quite a bit, you might not necessarily understand what it is. Simply put, leaky gut is when your gut lining has holes or cracks in it, and bugs, toxins and partially digested food is able to leak out. This results in inflammation (there’s that word again) and a change in the healthy bacteria or flora in the gut.
This leads to a whole lot of problems, including chronic diseases.
15. It Supports Healthy Liver and Kidney Function
When germs manage to get into your system via your mouth, your kidneys and liver have to work hard to filter them out. Oil pulling removes toxins and helps with detoxification. This means your liver and kidney get to take a break.
Oil pulling might not be the miracle cure (yet) but it definitely helps ease, reduce and eliminate a lot of common conditions and ailments. Ad even not so common ones. As far as we’re concerned there’s no harm in trying it – it’s affordable, you can find oils at your local health store, and it’s easy enough to do. When are you going to give oil pulling a try?
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.