What Is Oil Pulling?

Coconut oil pulling is one of the best health rituals to remove bacteria and promote healthy teeth and gums. It has the added effect of whitening teeth.

Pulling oil is an ancient healing practice that dates back 3000 years, this technique involves swishing or holding oils from plants in the mouth for long periods of time to produce health benefits. This action supposedly draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health. Once the swishing is complete, the oil is spit out into a sink or trash basket.

What oils to use?

Oil pulling is best done in the morning, before eating or drinking anything.  And you can use any of these oils may be used:

  • avocado
  • black cumin seed
  • canola
  • cedar nut
  • coconut
  • olive
  • safflower
  • sunflower
  • sesame
  • walnut

A variety of oils are recommended for oil pulling. such as sesame and sunflower oil, but these oils both have omega 6 fats that are pro-inflammatory, and most of us have too much of these in our diet as it is.

According to research performed by Irish scientists from the Athlone Institute of Technology who tested the effects of coconut oil ON dental health, coconut oil was shown to prevent Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a common inhabitant of the mouth and a major cause of tooth decay, from binding to and damaging tooth enamel. 50% of the fat in coconut oil is comprised of the bacteria whooping ingredient lauric acid. Lauric acid is very well known for its antimicrobial actions; it inhibits Strep mutans that are the primary bacteria that cause tooth decay. With that in mind, it should be no surprise that recent studies have shown the benefit of coconut oil in the prevention of tooth decay.

How to oil pull?

The concept is incredibly simple. You swish you switch around two table spoons of oil around your mouth and through the gaps in your teeth. Make sure not to swallow or inhale any during the swishing process, as it is loaded with the bacteria you are trying to rid your mouth of. After 15-20 minutes spits it out and rinses well.

It’s recommended to do this 1-4 times daily depending upon their health history and dental health challenges.  Someone who has a root canal or multiple root canals, I will strongly encourage to oil pull 3-4x daily. Someone without much dental challenges may do great with one oil pull session per day.


Does oil pulling work?

A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research showed that when compared with mouthwash, swishing with sesame oil reduced plaque, modified gingival scores, and lowered microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that oil pulling with sesame oil helped in reducing oral malodor and the microbes causing it just as much as using a chlorhexidine treatment. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry found oil pulling to be as effective as chlorhexidine in the treatment of bad breath.

Benefits if oil puling

  • Brighter, whiter teeth
  • Healthier gums
  • Prevents bad breath
  • Increased energy
  • Clearer mind
  • Decreased headaches
  • Clearer sinuses
  • Alleviated allergies
  • Better sleep
  • Clearer skin
  • Regulated menstrual cycles
  • Improved lymphatic system
  • Improved PMS symptoms

For the record, a regular oil-pulling routine should not replace routine dental visits and traditional at-home oral care. Oil pulling does not reverse the effects of tooth decay, and it’s important that patients are made fully aware of that. That being said, I do believe that it is a great supplemental therapy.

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