Oil pulling is the missing link to oral wellness, as it addresses the health of our gums and entire mouth, not just the teeth. It is a simple yet vital practice to include in your proactive health regime, in addition to brushing and flossing your teeth. Oral health also impacts overall health as the body’s internal systems interact and support health and healing as a whole. Although oil pulling is currently all the rage among natural health advocates in the USA, it is not a new health practice, but one that dates back to ancient India.
The History of Oil Pulling and Health Benefits
Ayurvedic medicine has utilized plant-based treatments for centuries. Originating in India over 3,000 years ago, it is considered the world’s oldest healthcare system. Oil pulling has effectively been used in Ayurvedic healing practices. Oil pulling is a natural oral detoxification treatment that has been reported to cure bleeding and inflammation of the gums, cracked lips, bad breath, tooth decay, and more. It is also noted for its preventive qualities: ridding the mouth of toxins and bacteria that cause decay, and strengthening the gums and teeth.
So What Is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is simply the technique of gently swishing oil in your mouth, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, or when fasting, for about 20 minutes, for oral detoxification. Do not gargle or swallow the oil, as it is collecting the bacteria and toxins from your mouth. The twenty minutes can go by quickly if you are engaged in preparing breakfast, showering, or reading the morning headlines while oil pulling. Spit the oil into the toilet after swishing. Next, rinse your mouth with warm water and spit, to remove any remaining oil. Afterwards, brush your teeth.
What Oil Should You Use?
It’s no wonder that coconut oil, known for its anti-microbial and other healing properties, is the most popular oil currently used in oil pulling. Use whatever amount feels comfortable, about one tablespoon. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, use less. For additional antimicrobial support, you can add a drop or two of clove, cinnamon or orange therapeutic grade essential oil to the spoon of coconut oil and swish, or brush your teeth afterwards with remineralizing toothpaste containing essential oils. You determine how often to oil pull, 3 to 5 times a week. (Note: coconut oil is solid at room temperature but will melt immediately at body temperature).
If you are new to oil pulling, you may have a few questions. Dr. Eric L. Zielinski, DC, and a public health researcher at www.drericz.com, provided answers to these questions.
Q. Most articles on oil pulling suggest that you do so first thing in the morning? What is the reason for this and can it be done another time effectively? I also see recommendations for oil pulling on an empty stomach. Why is this important since we aren’t swallowing the oil?
Dr. Z –Like any detoxification process, it is best to do oil pulling on an empty stomach. It’s all about maximizing our metabolism. It is important to remember that the term ‘metabolism’ has been widely confused as only referring to the breakdown of food and weight loss. Metabolism is best defined as “the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. Metabolism consists of anabolism (the buildup of substances) and catabolism (the breakdown of substances).”
When our bodies are digesting food our metabolic reserves are being used up to assimilate this nutrition, NOT on detoxification. It is, therefore, advantageous to oil pull first thing in the morning, or when fasting, so that the body can completely focus on ridding itself of lipid-soluble toxins. Like laundry detergent or dish soap that removes the grease and grime from our clothes and dishes, the coconut oil that you swish around in your mouth will literally suck out the fat-soluble toxins from your oral cavity.