Try Oil Pulling for a Healthier Mouth
In addition to brushing your teeth and flossing, you can use oil pulling to boost your oral health. If you’ve never heard of oil pulling, it is an Ayurvedic tradition that has been used for thousands of years, especially in India.
The short version: Oil pulling is really simple. You just swish sesame seed oil or coconut oil around in your mouth for anywhere from five to 20 minutes and then spit it out and rinse your mouth.
It may sound crazy, but this keeps your mouth clean and healthy, while fighting bacteria and diseases. New research shows that oil pulling can reduce levels of bacteria in your mouth, including Streptococcus mutans1 bacteria that causes tooth decay; aerobic mircoorganisms that build plaque-induced gingivitis2; microorgaisms that create halitosis (bad breath)3; Candida albicans, which can cause thrush, and more.
There really nothing to lose! When you give it a try, here are the keys to getting all oil pulling’s benefits:
The best time to do oil pulling is right when you wake up before eating or drinking anything. It helps you swish out any bacteria and build-up in your mouth that has developed overnight. That said, you can do oil pulling any time of the day that your schedule allows – even at night.
If you’ve never done it before, just start with five minutes and then work your way up to anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.
How do I do it?
Just use a gentle “pulling” motion in your mouth that pulls the oil forward and back through your teeth. If your jaw feels tired quickly, you are probably swishing too vigorously. Just take it super easy swishing back and forth. The key is to spit it out! If you swallow the oil, you’re swallowing all the bacteria and toxins you’ve just loosened up. DO NOT spit down the drain in your sink or toilet, which may clog the pipes. Just spit it out in the garbage. That said, don’t panic if you do swallow some while swishing. It’s ok. Rinse out your mouth well and you are finished!
What oil should I use?
The best oils to use are sesame oil or coconut oil. It is important to use food-grade (which means you can eat it or use it in food – a bonus for your kitchen) and organic. Don’t cut corners with the quality of oil that you use. I like to use coconut oil because it has extra anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and I always have it around in my house (coconut oil rocks!).
Try oil pulling consistently for at least two weeks to see the results.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Good News, a community-based magazine in the Waseca, Minnesota area, owned and published by Antonio Wegner and his wife, Sheri.