Did you know that oil pulling was hot 5,000 years ago?
It also happens to help you maintain oral hygiene, which should make your next visit to the dentist a little more relaxed.
It's important to understand that the mouth is a safe haven for toxins. It’s warm, it’s moist, and it has an opening.
We might think that brushing our teeth is good enough, but oil pulling provides something that conventional oral health care doesn't address.
A toothbrush can't pull out stubborn fat-soluble toxins that 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 powerful benefits.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic healing method from 5,000 years ago.
We’ll discuss the process in more detail later, but basically, you want to swish oil in your mouth for about 5-15 minutes before you brush your teeth. Oil pulling is getting popular again as more people are discovering this powerful form of oral detoxification.
Brushing your teeth is not enough to remove fat-soluble toxins.
Oil pulling is a solution.
Oil pulling benefits go far beyond the mouth itself.
For example, the body is filled with toxins as a result of poor diet, insufficient exercise, and stress.
Oil pulling helps the salivary glands detoxify the mouth, which as we know is a safe haven for toxins. Add this practice to brushing your teeth as a powerful way to remove toxins and prevent diseases from entering our bodies.
Oils You Can Use to Receive Oil Pulling Benefits
There are various types of oil you can use for oil pulling, but here are a few of the most popular:
- Coconut Oil: There has now been a significant amount of research done on coconut oil pulling and its benefits, and it’s a fan favorite to be sure. While it’s a great choice for oil pulling, it is not considered to be as effective as it could be when combined with other powerful oils.
- Sesame Seed Oil: A lot of 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 oil to use.
- Sunflower Seed Oil: Similar to coconut oil, this oil has gained a lot of popularity over the years, and it is also considered an effective pulling oil, but it is not considered the best when 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 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 considered a powerful healing technique in early Ayurvedic texts, and its legacy continues to this day.
These ancient Ayurvedic practitioners considered oil pulling as a technique to prevent bleeding gums, drying of the throat, cracking of the lips, weakening of the teeth, and even pain in the jaw.
Coconut Oil was not their main choice, however. Their go-to oils, based on 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 your favorite way to start your morning routine? Check out these 5 evidence-backed oil pulling benefits below; they just might change your mind.
1. Decrease in Plaque Formation
If you're a big fan of plaque, don’t try oil pulling; it could ruin your dreams of winning a 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 able to reduce plaque if practiced daily for 15-20 minutes for 45 days.
2. Helps Prevent Gingivitis
Oil pulling has a surprising success rate at decreasing 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. Their findings indicate that it has a significant impact on gingivitis and could help prevent plaque-induced gingivitis from happening.
3. Helps Prevent Tooth Decay
Ever heard of Streptococcus mutans? It doesn't sound too appetizing.
Yet it’s in your mouth.
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, which is pretty much the slow and disturbing destruction of your tooth enamel, is no joke. It could result in dental issues that require extensive (and expensive) treatment. Most dental treatment is also not all that fun.
4. Supports Oral Hygiene
When we brush our teeth, we don’t do it because of all the studies we’ve digested over the years.
For the most part, we do it because we know it’s essential to maintaining oral hygiene.
Based on various studies, oil pulling can be 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 factoid.
Because of all the benefits that come with oil pulling, it actually leads to fresher breath. There was a study done on this by five researchers in a randomized controlled pilot trial with 20 adolescent subjects.
Among other incredible findings, this study revealed that oil pulling is effective at getting rid of the infamous “breath malodor.”
The couple below definitely does oil pulling. Look at that smile.
How Oil Pulling Works
When you swish oil around in your mouth, it essentially “pulls” the bacteria hiding in your gums and corners of your mouth that the toothbrush is not able to access. Your saliva and the pulling oil work together to pull toxins out of crevices.
The mouth is a gateway to your body, so “pulling” bacteria out of your mouth can significantly reduce your chances of falling ill. This is one of the most significant oil pulling benefits in our opinion. For more details, check out this video.
How to Perform Oil Pulling
So how can you integrate oil pulling into your morning routine?
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, your jaw will probably be sore by around the 5th minute, and that’s normal! It’s good to start slow.
Start by doing oil pulling for about 3 minutes a day at first, and then try to add a little bit more time every day. You can even turn it into a personal challenge to see how long you can go to get the most out of oil pulling benefits.
There are ways to mess this up.
During oil pulling, it's important to make sure that you don’t swallow the oil. Not just because you’re not supposed to swallow the oil, but also because that oil is now packed with those toxins we were trying to get out!
Most of us brush our teeth and spit 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 trashcan.
Our sinks are usually not designed to handle oil. It could cause clogging, which we all know doesn't make for a fun time.
Here's a great blog on the top 5 common mistakes people make when oil pulling.
We can’t just forget 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 did discuss 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 some even report 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 problem ever, breath 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.