Oil pulling

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Our mouths are a fairly busy part of our physiology… the CEO of tremendous daily responsibilities.

In Ayurvedic medicine, the mouth is considered a reflection on the general health of our entire body. Also, it’sconsidered a kind of gateway to treat and maintain wellness.

Home to billions of microorganisms, according to Ayurvedic medicine our mouths may affect the development of systemic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

For those interested in a natural, cost-conscious approach to oral cleanliness and full body health – with no side effects – the ancient technique of oil pulling has made a resurgence.  This traditional remedy, practiced all over the world, offers dental health benefits alongside its potential as a complementary treatment for disease and other conditions of physicality – when practiced regularly and as directed.

In the abstract, “Oil Pulling for Maintaining Oral Hygiene”, published with the U.S. National Institute of Health, it is suggested the technique should be done in the morning, on empty stomach, before brushing teeth.

“In oil pulling, a tablespoon full of oil is swished around the mouth in the early morning before breakfast and in empty stomach for about 20 min. In case of children greater than five years of age, a teaspoon of oil is used. The oil is ‘pulled’ and forced in between all the teeth by swishing it all around the mouth. At the end of this activity, if the procedure is done correctly, the viscous oil will become milky white and thinner. Then it is spit out and the mouth is thoroughly washed with clean warm water and teeth are cleaned, or routine tooth brushing is performed.  If the jaw aches, then the procedure can be done just for 5–10 min.”

When spitting out your oil, aim for a waste basket – something other than the sink. Oils of this nature are no friend to plumbing and can clog pipes. Also, after swishing, the oil contains a concentration of bacteria. Try not to swallow it.

Speaking of oils, there are grocery stores full of them – what should we look for?

Organic oils, such as sunflower, sesame, and coconut are suggested – especially if they are ‘cold pressed’. Most commercial packaging displays this fairly prominently on the label. Apparently, refined oil also works in “pulling” the bacteria, viruses and protozoa from the oral cavity. Since trans fats are absent in cold pressed oils – unlike commercial oils extracted from strong petroleum-based solvents – oil pulling is ideally performed with cold pressed oils.

Sesame oil seems to be traditionally preferred for pulling. Found to reduce gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) due to plaque build-up. Root of Sesame has antifungal properties and the polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce [detrimental activity] occurring in oral cavity.

It’s believed oil pulling is effective in drawing out problematic bacteria partly because of its antioxidant content. Oil pulling is both a preventative measure and a treatment– a broad range of benefits in every swish.

Outside of Ayurvedic medicine, in the abstract: “Oxidative Stress in Oral Diseases: Understanding Its Relation with Other Systemic Diseases”, with Frontiers in Physiology. A correlation is drawn between oxidative stress, oral health and illnesses.

“Oxidative stress in oral disease is related to other systemic diseases in the body such as liver diseases, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammation, periodontitis, cardiovascular, pancreatic, gastric diseases and other degenerative diseases related to the nervous system. Oral health has an effect on various organs of the body.”

According to “Oil Pulling for Maintaining Oral Hygiene”, a mouth engaged in a healthy lifestyle could do us a great service, long-term.

Antibiotic resistance, adverse effects and toxicity has prompted scientists to research natural products. Ayurveda hypothesizes the tongue is connected to organs such as kidneys, heart, lungs, small intestine, spine.  Oil pulling is believed to help in the excretion of toxic heavy metals by saliva.  Oil pulling activates salivary enzymes which absorb toxins such as chemical, bacterial and environmental toxins from the blood and removed from the body through the tongue. Thus, oil pulling detoxifies and purifies the entire human body.”