Oil Pulling: The Benefits and How-To’s
There’s a big chance you have probably heard of Oil Pulling. But what exactly is oil pulling and what are the benefits?
Oil pulling, also known as “kavala” or “gundusha,” is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique. It involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health. Many people in the health and wellness industry seem to be skeptical; is this just another “wellness buzzword”, or does incorporating oil pulling into your daily practice have any true benefits?
History of Oil Pulling
In India, the practice of Ayurvedic medicine has been the cornerstone of health for centuries. Likewise, this system is based on the idea of three doshas (energies) and how foods, herbs, and other natural elements balance those doshas. According to Ayurvedic tradition, balance among the three doshas results in better health, less stress, and more fulfilling relationships.
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, many practitioners and medical doctors have noted the endless benefits. This practice has been noted to be preventive, minimizing the need for future medication or surgery. In Ayurveda, oil pulling is believed to draw out toxins from the teeth and gums, thereby detoxifying the mouth and, if done regularly, the entire body.
There are several studies that have been focusing on the benefits of oil pulling. Praised for curing more than 20 systemic diseases, the authors of this study have some profound things to say about this ancient natural healing practice. Most noteworthy, this effective practice has been used for centuries as a traditional India remedy to:
- Treat tooth decay
- Reduce and kill bad breath
- Heal bleeding gums
- Prevent heart disease
- Whiten teeth
- Soothe throat dryness
- Prevent plaque, gum disease, cavities and gingivitis
- Help reverse cavities
- Reduce inflammation
- Strengthen gums and jaws
- Help with TMJ
- Heal cracked lips
- Boost the immune system
Furthermore, by integrating this ancient practice into your daily routines, many people notice positive changes in as little as one week.
- Make sure to oil pull first thing in the morning right after you get out of bed — before you brush your teeth or drink anything.
- Gently swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and between your teeth for 10–20 minutes, making sure that you don’t swallow any of the oil.
- Spit out the oil and immediately rinse your mouth out with warm water (use salt water for added antimicrobial properties).
- Brush your teeth as you normally would.
Why Coconut Oil?
In Ayurvedic tradition, sesame oil is the popular choice to use. Sunflower oil has been suggested by many, but coconut oil is the most popular oil used today, particularly because of its known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (which are both important for promoting oral health). Personally, I used coconut oil because it is always easily available and is relatively affordable. I always look for cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil.
I personally use Nature’s Way Coconut Oil or Trader Joe’s brand. You can find the specific brand here on Amazon or in any health food store. I like using Nature’s Way coconut oil because it is USDA Certified Organic, it’s in a BPA Free plastic container which makes it easy to travel with. And lastly, I like Nature’s Way coconut oil because I’m also able to use it in my skin and hair care routines.