The ancient Ayurvedic practise of Oil Pulling is estimated to have been used for between 3000-5000 years and was first recorded in India during the Vedic period. Although the practise, revered for its incredible healing properties, still maintains its air of mysticism it has gained a lot of attention in western culture in recent years and becoming quite a holistic health care must!
Needless to say we love it! So, we want to cut the confusion around this wonderful cleansing technique with our Oil Pulling 101.
Let’s start at the beginning:
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, which directly translates to Ayur- life Veda- Science, is a traditional Indian system of holistic health treatment. Based around the understanding that the body and mind are linked, Ayurveda aims to maintain a delicate balance between them. Ayurvedic medicine works on the belief that each human system can be categorised under one of three dominant life forces or ‘doshas’ Pitta, Kapha and Vatta. Through identifying which of these most accurately describes your health, habits and emotions it is believed to be possible to both cure and prevent illness accordingly.
Part of this is a system of ‘Ayurvedic Surgery’ of which Oil Pulling is one of the techniques. The fact that this is one of the only dental practises in Ayurveda shows its place as a treatment for the whole body, not just the mouth. In fact, Oil Pulling is claimed to cure 30 systematic diseases in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita.
So how does it work?
Oil Pulling is used to draw toxins from the mouth and in turn the body. The action of pushing and pulling oil around the mouth allows it to collect and trap bacteria which exists around the gums, pores and tubules within the teeth. It is also believed that through this, toxins can be drawn from the rest of the body, collecting in the oil to then be removed completely when the oil is spat out. Coconut oil is known to be particularly effective due to its natural antibacterial properties and the lauric acid it contains. Lauric acid has both proven anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects
Is it really effective?
Although scientific research is yet to widely acknowledge the benefits felt by people around the world, there have been studies conducted in 2009 and 2015 which recognise its healing effects on plaque induced gingivitis. Both studies analysed the effects of Oil Pulling on a group of adolescent boys and girls suffering from the condition. Their findings in both cases show a speedy reduction in the plaque index and total colony count of aerobic micro-organisms which lead to tooth decay.
Of course Oil Pulling also has thousands of years of anecdotal evidence behind it, suggesting that it is effective in removing plaque and toxins from the mouth as well as the body. People who regularly oil pull report experiencing fresher breath, tooth whitening and relief of tooth and gum sensitivity. There have been many testimonials which claim that Oil Pulling has helped to remedy a host of other ailments from asthma to skin conditions.
How to oil pull
Take 1-2 tablespoons of oil into the mouth and swish around, sucking and pulling the oil through the teeth. Maintain this for between 5-20 minutes. As a first-time oil puller this may feel a little strange and even uncomfortable to begin with. If this is the case for you we suggest starting with shorter times and building up to 20 minutes as you become more of a pro! Once you have finished, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth. After swishing the oil should appear a milky white colour.
It is up to you how often you choose to do this. It can be used daily as a detox or less regularly to supplement your normal oral care routine. It is always most effective when done early in the morning before breakfast and is not advised after eating.