Oil pulling was trending 5,000 years ago, so why are we talking about oil pulling benefits now?
Consider this: the mouth is like a safe haven for toxins. It’s warm, it’s moist, and it has a door.
Don’t worry, nobody likes to think about that.
But we brush our teeth. That’s pretty good, right?
Well, it turns out that brushing your teeth just doesn’t cut it. The reason being that a toothbrush isn’t capable of pulling out those stubborn fat-soluble toxins that like to hide out in your oral cavity. So why isn’t the dentist talking your ear off about oil pulling benefits? As you’ll discover in this article, they probably just don’t know.
Spoiler alert: it has a ton of practical and powerful benefits.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic healing method that dates back 5,000 years. We’ll discuss the process in more detail later in this article, but to put it briefly, you’ll want to swish a particular oil in your mouth for about 5-15 minutes before you brush your teeth. Oil pulling is experiencing a resurgence as more people are beginning to discover this powerful form of oral detoxification.
Brushing alone is not enough to remove fat-soluble toxins from your teeth.
Oil pulling provides a solution.
Oil pulling benefits extend far beyond the mouth itself. The body is filled with toxins as a result of poor diet, insufficient exercise, and stress from all walks of life.
Oil pulling enables the salivary glands to detoxify the mouth, which we know is a safe haven for toxins. Combining this practice with brushing is a powerful way to remove toxins and prevent diseases from entering our system.
Oils You Can Use to Receive Oil Pulling Benefits
There are a few different types of oil you can use to perform oil pulling, but here are a few of the most popular:
- Coconut Oil: We’re finally at the point where there has been a significant amount of research done on coconut oil pulling and its benefits, and it’s a fan favorite. While it’s a great choice for oil pulling, it is not considered the most effective when used alone.
- Sesame Seed Oil: A lot of the major studies on oil pulling actually used Sesame Seed Oil, and it’s the same oil that was used traditionally by Ayurvedic practitioners, which makes it a reliable, credible oil to use.
- Sunflower Seed Oil: Similar to coconut oil, this oil has gained a lot of fandom, and it is also considered to be an effective pulling oil, but it is not considered the most effective if used alone.
- Pulling Oil Solution: Not all pulling oils are created equal. We can vouch for this one because we know exactly which oils went into it, and more importantly, why these oils were chosen. This blend contains:
- Sesame Seed Oil
- Sunflower Seed Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
The Peppermint essential oil is added for its antibacterial properties as well as flavoring to make oil pulling more enjoyable. If you’re a big fan of Peppermint, you can add a few drops to your mixture to maximize oil pulling benefits and add a mintier taste.
The Ancient History of Oil Pulling
We have all kinds of new ways to assess oil pulling benefits nowadays, but 5,000 years ago...not so much. What they did have was a holistic health science known as Ayurveda. Oil pulling was documented as a powerful healing technique in early Ayurvedic texts, and its legacy continues today.
These ancient practitioners spoke of oil pulling as a technique to prevent bleeding gums, dry throat, cracked lips, weak teeth, and even jaw pain.
They weren’t all about Coconut Oil pulling though. Their go-to oils, according to ancient texts, were Sunflower Oil and Sesame Seed Oil.
5 Evidence-Based Oil Pulling Benefits
Now for the juicy stuff...or rather, oily stuff.
So, swishing oil between your teeth doesn’t sound like your ideal morning routine? Check out these 5 evidence-backed oil pulling benefits below, and see if they change your mind.
1. Decreases Plaque Formation
If you love plaque, don’t try oil pulling; it could ruin your dreams of winning a Guinness World Record for most plaque accumulated during a lifetime. All kidding aside, there was a microbiological study carried out to assess the impact of oil pulling on plaque, gingivitis, and colony-forming bacteria. The study found that it was effective in reducing plaque if practiced daily for 15-20 minutes for 45 days.
2. Helps Prevent Plaque-Induced Gingivitis
Oil pulling actually dramatically decreases the likelihood of getting Gingivitis. This is based on multiple studies, including the one mentioned above. However, one great study focused on plaque-induced gingivitis. They found that it had a significant impact on gingivitis and that it could prevent plaque-induced gingivitis from occurring in the first place.
3. Prevents Tooth Decay
Have you ever heard of Streptococcus mutans? It even sounds gross. Well, it’s in your mouth. To put it briefly, these S. mutans are among the most significant bacterial contributors to tooth decay. During one study, the level of S. mutans was significantly reduced after just two weeks of oil pulling. Tooth decay, meaning the slow and ugly destruction of your tooth enamel, is no joke. It could lead to dental issues that require extensive (and expensive) treatment, and it’s not fun.
4. Supports Oral Hygiene
When we brush our teeth, we don’t exactly do it because of all the studies we’ve read about how effective it is. Mostly, we do it because we realize it’s essential to maintaining oral hygiene. Based on several studies, oil pulling makes for an excellent addition to oral hygiene. This was demonstrated in the same microbiological study mentioned earlier. Read about it here.
5. Gets Rid of Bad Breath
All of us have bad breath at some time or another. Did you know there is a scientific name for bad breath? It’s called “breath malodor.” Impress your friends with that one. Because of all the benefits that come with oil pulling, it actually leads to fresher breath. There was a legitimate study done on this by five researchers in a randomized controlled pilot trial with 20 adolescent subjects. Among other significant findings, this study revealed that oil pulling is effective at getting rid of the dreaded “breath malodor.” Pretty sure the couple below just finished oil pulling.
How Oil Pulling Works
The eternal mystery. Not really.
When you swish oil around in your mouth, it “pulls” the bacteria hiding in your gums and corners of your mouth that the toothbrush can’t access. There’s a collaborative effort between your saliva and the pulling oil that works to pull toxins out of their respective crevices.
The mouth is a gateway to your body, so “pulling” bacteria out of your mouth can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick. This is one of the most significant oil pulling benefits. For more details, check out this video.
How to Perform Oil Pulling
The most popular technique of oil pulling involves placing the pulling oil in the mouth and then swishing the oil around for 5-15 minutes.
When you first try oil pulling, you’ll probably get a sore jaw by about the 5th minute, and that’s normal! It’s best to start slow. One great strategy is to start by oil pulling for about 3 minutes a day, and try to go for a little bit longer every day. You can even turn it into a personal challenge to get the most oil pulling benefits.
During oil pulling, be absolutely sure that you don’t swallow the oil. Not just because you’re not supposed to swallow the oil itself, but also because that oil is now packed with the mouth’s toxins, the very things you’re trying to get rid of.
We’re used to brushing our teeth and spitting into the sink, but since we are using a pulling oil to detoxify our mouths, it’s best we spit it into the toilet bowl or the trash. The reason is that our sink is not designed to handle oil. It could cause clogging, which we all know is never fun.
Here's a great blog on the top 5 common mistakes people make when oil pulling.
We can’t un-know the fact that our mouths are safe havens for toxins, but oil pulling provides an excellent solution to that problem. Oil pulling is not hard, and it has a ton of benefits. While we focused on 5 evidence-based benefits, there are plenty of people who swear by oil pulling for a variety of other benefits, including whiter teeth, body detoxification, clear and radiant skin, and even increased energy. Studies are now clarifying the fact that oil pulling is not just some hipster fad, but rather an effective way to fight plaque, gingivitis, tooth decay, and our favorite...malodor.
Will you try oil pulling?
- Yes! I’m always up for having a cleaner mouth.
- Maybe. It seems a little weird.
- No. I don’t know what I would do without bacteria and plaque.