A little while ago I wrote a post about coconut oil – an awesome oil with many health benefits.
A few people commented that they use coconut oil for something called Oil Pulling – which is like using the oil as you would a mouthwash.
Apparently, there are quite a few studies that support this process and a lot of people swear by it.
It is said to whiten your teeth, make your breath fresher and lead to a massive improvement in oral health.
I have now been doing this every morning for about 2 months… and I am very impressed.
What is Oil Pulling? How does it Work?
Oil pulling is swishing oil around the mouth, just like you would your mouthwash and has been used for thousands of years as an Indian folk remedy.
In order to oil pull, you put about half a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, then swish it around for 15-20 minutes.
The main benefit, of doing this is, it reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
There are actually thousands of different types of bacteria in the mouth. Some of them are friendly, others are not so.
The bacteria in the mouth create a “biofilm” on the teeth – a thin layer they use to adhere to the surface. This is what we know as and call “plaque.”
Having some plaque on your teeth is normal, however, if it gets out of hand it can cause all sorts of problems, including bad breath, yellow teeth, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities.
The way oil pulling works is simple. When you swish the oil around your mouth, the bacteria “gets caught up” in the melted or warm oil and they simply dissolve in the liquid oil.
Basically, you remove a large amount of the bacteria and plaque in your mouth each time you do this.
Coconut Oil is My Choice
Traditionally, the Indians used other oils like sesame oil or sunflower oil.
Oil pulling should work with pretty much any oil you choose, I prefer coconut oil because it has many added health benefits.
The Lauric Acid (one of the fatty acids in coconut oil) is also proven to be anti-microbial… it can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi
The taste of coconut oil is also fairly pleasant compared to other oils. I found it rather disgusting at first having my mouth full of oil, but I got used to it after a few days.
Now let’s look at a few of the studies that have been done on oil pulling…
Oil Pulling Can Effectively Reduce Harmful Bacteria in the Mouth
Streptococcus Mutans is one of the main bacteria found in the mouth and the number one bad guy in making plaque build-up on the teeth and causing tooth decay.
In a study from 2008 with approx 20 boys, oil pulling every morning (using sesame oil) caused a significant reduction in the number of Streptococcus Mutans in the plaque in as little as 2 weeks.
It was not as effective as a Chlorhexidine mouthwash, much cheaper and MUCH less harmful to the teeth and body and overall health.
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Plaque and Gingivitis
Gingivitis is caused by inflammation of the gums and happens when the immune system starts attacking the bacteria in the plaque.
Another study compared oil pulling and chlorhexidine in adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis. Both oil pulling and chlorhexidine mouthwash were effective against gingivitis, so I would go with the coconut oil myself again, much less harmful to the body
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Bad Breath
Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is in many cases (not all) caused by the smell of chemicals and gases produced by bacteria in the mouth.
It makes sense then that if you get rid of some of these bacteria, you reduce bad breath.
In a third study of 20 adolescents, oil pulling therapy significantly reduced all markers for bad breath and was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash!
How to Oil Pull
Oil pulling is incredibly simple and effective.
Here’s how to do it:
- Put about a heaped teaspoon of solid coconut oil in your mouth or a tablespoon of liquid oil.
- Swish the oil around your mouth for about 15-20 minutes.
- Spit out the oil, after spitting the oil out, brush your teeth.
If you use coconut oil like me, then you may have to chew on the oil for a minute or so to let it melt because this oil is solid at room temperature.
It is best to do this on an empty stomach before you brush your teeth. I like to do it while I take a shower in the morning as I am multi-tasking.
I put the oil in my mouth, swish it around while I’m in the shower and try to “push” and “pull” the oil between my teeth.
When I get out of the shower I spit out the oil into a tissue over the bin and then throw drop the tissue into the bin (do not spit it out into the sink… coconut oil solidifies and can clog your pipes and drains), I then rinse my mouth with water, then brush my teeth in the usual way.
There is no need to use a lot of force when swishing the oil around in your mouth, if oil pulling causes pain in the muscles in your face and jawline then just relax your facial muscles a bit. Try using less oil next time and don’t swish it around too forcefully.
What to Expect
I’ve been doing this for about 2 months once a day
I’ve definitely noticed that my breath is fresher and my teeth look a lot cleaner… both whiter, a lot more shiny than they did before, they feel cleaner for most of the day too.
I can see how this could have benefits for people who have dental problems and my teeth feel really clean all day.
There are a lot of wild claims about oil pulling online, I don’t believe all of them but I do stand what I have found out for myself.
However, oil pulling IS effective at reducing the harmful bacteria in your mouth and improving oral and dental health
Given that inflammation can cause a lot of health problems, it does make sense for you to reduce inflammation in the gums and mouth which in turn could lead to increased benefits for overall health.
Perhaps this is the reason why many people report improvements in their overall health that has nothing to do with the mouth.
Anyway, I have to say, I am really surprised at how effective this oil pulling is. I plan to continue doing this for a long time and keep my beautiful smile intact – maybe you’d like to give it a try too?
To shop for all of the ingredients needed to make this amazing pick me up just click here