A few years ago, someone had told me that swishing some oil in my mouth would help prevent cavities and prevent bad breath (among many other awesome benefits), I thought they were another one of those “love a tree” kind of people or simply put, nuts.
Now, call me nuts, because I am an oil swishing aka oil pulling nut. Not only has it greatly reduced my cavity count and my dental bill but my ever-so-loving husband has no complaints when it comes to my breath or pearly whites!
What is it?
Oil pulling is an ancient practice known as Ayurveda that originated in India thousands of years ago and the concept behind it is simple: oil is “gargled” or swished around in one’s mouth which causes a chemical reaction between the oil and saliva so that the bacteria that is lurking around the teeth, gums, and tongue is “caught” in the mixture of oil and saliva. Thus, cleansing the mouth of bacteria that causes decay, cavities, and other oral diseases. Oil pulling is also known to heal bleeding gums, dry throat, and strengthen teeth, gums, and jaw.
The Science Behind It
The major culprit in oral problems is a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. They multiply quickly and form a “biofilm” which is a thin layer that is also infamously known as plaque. As we continue to feed and grow them with sucrose which is also known as sugar, Streptococcus mutans create a biofilm over teeth which then lead to tooth decay and gum disease. The chemical reaction between the oil, saliva, and bacteria causes the oil to turn to a creamy white texture. How you ask? Simply, the lipids in the oil act like a vacuum cleaner as they suck the bacteria and toxins out of the saliva and teeth. Because oils have such a powerful detoxifying effect, not only would they benefit oral health but also the health of the body overall.
- Oral disease prevention
- Bad breath prevention
- Healing for bleeding gums
- Dry throat, lips, and mouth remedy
- Strengthening of the teeth and gums
However, since oil is a detoxifier, benefits go beyond the mouth! Other benefits that have been reported are:
- Reduction of eczema
- Improved kidney function
- Allergy relief
- Reducing inflammation that causes arthritis
- Reducing pain
- Improved vision
- Improved immune system
Which oil should I use?
While there are many different types of oils that can be used, the one that comes the most highly recommended is sesame oil as it is well-known for its oral health boosting properties. Sesame and sunflower oils were the oils that were originally used by the first practitioners of oil pulling; also, probably because that was what they had an abundance of. Each oil has their own different benefits and they each have their own unique taste to them as well. Besides these three oils that I am about to mention, people have reported success with basically any vegetable oil like olive, almond, etc. All oils have a great detoxifying effect on the body.
Studies have shown sesame oil to have similar properties to chlorhexidine, the chemical in clinical mouthwash that aids in oral health issues such as gingivitis. Sesame oil also has shown to be capable of inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans.
Sunflower oil is known as a great antioxidant due to its high levels of Vitamin E as well as its chemical properties that aid in healing infection. Sunflower oil can also act as a great natural moisturizer which would benefit chapped lips and dry throat.
If you were to ask different people, each person would have a different preference as to which oil they like the best. I personally prefer coconut oil due to the many other health benefits that it provides and that I also have it on hand in great abundance (thank you, Costco!).
Coconut oil, my personal favorite, is a very fatty oil. It has a high content of lauric acid which has proven to be highly antimicrobial. Coconut oil also has the most pleasant and bearable taste, in my opinion.
- You will need 1-2 teaspoons of your chosen oil. The coconut oil I use is an organic brand in a solid state so I let it sit in my mouth until it melts into a liquid state.
- Swish the oil around your mouth for at least 15 minutes. The recommended amount of time is 15-20 minutes to receive the full benefits from the oil. Do not swish for more than 20 minutes as the body will start to re-absorb the bacteria and toxins.
- Spit out the oil! Do not swallow the oil that is full of bacteria and toxins! If done correctly and for the right amount of the time, the oil should now be a thick and creamy white color.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water several times. Cold or warm, doesn’t really matter. I like to use warm water because I find that if I use cold water, the leftover coconut oil is tough to get out of my mouth as it somewhat solidifies again.
- Brush your teeth! This is definitely crucial to maintaining good oral health. I use a fluoride free toothpaste made by DoTerra in which they also use xylitol, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and wild orange oils which helps to maintain good oral health and to support a healthy immune system.
Just a Myth?
While there are many different reports floating around about why oil pulling is beneficial, there are also doubtful reports that state there is no actual medical evidence or proof that it truly works. Oil pulling is a simple and cost affordable way to maintain the overall health of your body so I say, why not give it a shot? This is probably the easiest method of detoxification that I have come across that works wonders. Well, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. I, for one, can say that it works for me and my family.
I like to use a simple analogy that most people will comprehend: Oil pulling is comparable to the reason why we use oil in the engines of our cars. Oil in the engine is used to remove dirt and other harmful substances from the engine which leaves the engine clean and running longer. Regular oil changes ensures the car’s engine’s lifespan and likewise, our teeth, gums, and jaw will be healthier and last longer with the regular use of oil pulling.
Sign Up for Rewards for Mom's Newsletter
Love this? Join our newsletter and get articles like this and more sent directly to your inbox… Convenient, huh? Sign up below: