The pandemic situation in lockdown has made many of us try out various things that we always wanted to learn or explore. Something similar happened to me. I had always heard about the ancient, Indian folk method of oil pulling to cleanse and whiten the teeth, freshen breath, and improve overall dental health, but toothpaste never gave me that opportunity. But, I finally tried it and thought to share it with our readers.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling also is known as ‘Kavala Graha or Gandusha’ is an old remedy used in oral hygiene routine which involves swishing oil around the mouth like a mouthwash for a longer period. The whole purpose of doing it is to get rid of oil-soluble toxins in the body. It can be easily done with cold-pressed coconut oil (not the one used in cooking) as it is readily available in every household. Considering the numerous benefits of this miracle oil, it is highly absorbable oil, with benefits like reducing inflammation and fighting harmful bacteria. This helps reduce the risk of gum inflammation, gingivitis, and cavities. Apart from it, other oils such as sunflower oil, olive oil, palm oil, or sesame seed oil can also be used for the remedy. A blend of appropriate proportion of sunflower and sesame seed oil can be used for a thorough detox purpose as well, commonly called as Doshic balance.
How to do Oil Pulling:
The process is easy and simple. According to Ayurveda, the ideal time to do oil pulling empty stomach, or even can be done while bathing or showering in the morning after brushing the teeth. One can also practice it one hour before breakfast or one hour after drinking more tea, coffee or liquid but before breakfast.
Step 1: Put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth
Step 2: Swish it around your mouth (like we do with a mouthwash) for around 15–20 minutes. Try not doing it very forcefully as that may cause pain in the facial muscles. It is advised to do oil pulling slowly, chin up preferably in sitting position, to see that oil pulled through teeth and touches all portions of the mucous membrane in the oral cavity.
After some time the amount of oil would increase in your mouth as it mixes with the saliva of our mouth. But in the beginning, one can start with 5 minutes and gradually increase the time with practice.
Step 3: Spit out the oil on a piece of paper or trash and rinse our mouth with plain water to brush your teeth. In the case of stickiness, one can rinse your mouth with warm water.
It is better to spit it out on paper and not directly in the sink as the fat in oil may later clog the pipes over time.
Precautions while practicing Oil Pulling:
As suggested, after swishing oil in the mouth for 15 minutes, be sure to spit out the oil that has collected the bacteria (through the process of osmosis) in your mouth. Swallowing it may lead to stomach discomfort or bacteria. One can start practicing oil pulling on a daily basis to get numerous benefits and improve oral health.
Benefits of Oil Pulling:
a. Fights the harmful bacteria: Using cold-pressed coconut oil is best for oil pulling. This kills the number of bacteria found in saliva and promotes oral hygiene.
b. Reduces bad breathe: Oil pulling is an easy and effective idea to reduce bad breathe which is due to poor oral hygiene, tongue coating, infection, or gum disease.
c. Preventing Cavities: Cavities are an outcome of poor oral hygiene, bacteria build-up, and excessive sugar consumption. Oil pulling along with brushing and flossing reduces the risk of Cavities and promotes optimum oral health.
d. Reducing inflammation: Coconut oil helps to reduce inflammation in this process of oil pulling. This helps reduce plaque-induced gingivitis which often leads to gum diseases characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
Oil pulling is worth trying remedy to improve oral hygiene. But, it is not a replacement to brushing your teeth or other oral hygiene routine.