Oil Pulling for Oral Health

Here’s another ancient Indian tradition going back thousands of years that may surprise you. You may ask what those Ayurvedic doctors were thinking when they used sesame oil for everything under the sun. From nasal lubrication to scalp and hair treatments.

Well, for one thing, they seemed to know that anything you put on your skin is going to be absorbed into your bloodstream. So they only used natural oils and herbs in their healing formulas. And so should we.

What is Oil Pulling?

It’s a way of pulling toxins from the body. Sesame oil and coconut oil are obviously thicker than water. When you apply concentrated oils to the mucus membranes of the mouth the oil attracts less concentrated oil-soluble toxins underneath the skin. It also activates the salivary enzymes that can break down these toxins.

I find oil pulling leaves my mouth feeling fresh and clean. I don’t do tongue scraping that some people practice. I think oil pulling provides a deeper way to clean the tongue instead of a mechanical scraping action.

When I first started doing oil pulling I could taste old dental anesthetics that I had been given decades ago! So I think it’s a brilliant strategy to follow because so many toxin procedures are performed in and around the mouth such as:

  1. Dental anesthetics.
  2. Prior mercury fillings. (See warning below.)
  3. Prior vaccinations, which are mostly given in the upper arms.
  4. Synthetic sunscreens applied liberally to the face.
  5. Synthetic makeup products…used mostly by women.

What Can Oil Pulling Do?

Oil pulling goes much deeper than just detoxing in and around the mouth. As blood circulates through the mouth, oil pulls toxins from capillaries. So, oil pulling in the mouth becomes a total body detox.

Ayurvedic practitioners go much further than my short list above and say that in their experience, oil pulling can address the following conditions. This list comes from Maui Herbs in Kihei where I get my sesame oil.

Benefits of Oil Pulling

  1. Joint Health
  2. Immune Support
  3. Regular digestion
  4. Blood sugar support
  5. Healthy, moisturized skin
  6. Supports increased energy
  7. Cardiovascular support
  8. Sleep support
  9. Promotes healthy teeth & gums

Make It Happen

  1. Choose cold-pressed, organic oils.
  2. First thing in the morning before brushing your teeth, take one tablespoon of oil in your mouth and hold it there. (If you take a probiotic, I think you can take that first, since you will be waiting about an hour before eating anything else.) You can begin with one teaspoon to get the hang of it. Children over the age of 5 can practice oil pulling and
    should only use one teaspoon.
  3. Go about your morning, pulling and sucking the oil between your teeth and around your tongue and mouth for at least 10 minutes. Mixing the oil with your saliva is the key.
  4. Never swallow the oil, it becomes toxic as it does its pulling.
  5. After 10 or 15 minutes you may find yourself in the bathroom having a shower so you can spit out the oil in the toilet, not the sink…because of the toxins.
  6. You know you’ve held the oil long enough when it becomes thin and loses its oily consistency. When you spit it out you will see that it’s often white and frothy.
  7. Finally rinse your mouth with water rubbing your teeth and gums with your finger. Brush your teeth and drink several glasses of water.
  8. Store your toothbrush in a glass of 3% hydrogen peroxide to remove toxins and germs. This is a great strategy even if you don’t do oil pulling. But be sure and rinse your toothbrush well before using to remove the yucky taste of hydrogen peroxide.

Warning: If you have mercury fillings, some practitioners say it might not be a good idea to follow this strategy. Oil pulling regularly may pull mercury from your teeth. More research needs to be done on this aspect of oil pulling. For example, it might be safe to do oil pulling once or twice a week to keep mercury from affecting the tissues of your mouth.

How You Know It’s Working

  1. Your teeth may become whiter.
  2. You may experience less gum bleeding.
  3. You may notice increased energy.
  4. You may sleep more soundly.

Choosing An Oil for Oil Pulling

Sesame oil is known as the “Queen of All Oils.” And coconut oil is the Princess. Let’s first look at sesame oil. After all, it’s said to be the very first oil that was extracted and used in the diet and for healing purposes.

Properties of Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has a high percentage of polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids. 41% percent to be exact. Yet it doesn’t go rancid at room temperature because of two naturally-occurring preservatives, sesamol and sesamin. Here is a list of the health benefits of sesame oil.

  1. Antibacterial
    A. For common skin bacteria & dry skin
    B. When used in nasal lubrication, sniffing oil or applying with a Q-Tip or tip of a clean finger.
  2. Antifungal
  3. Antiviral
    A. When used in nasal lubrication.
  4. Anti-inflammatory

Properties of Coconut Oil

In the early 1990’s, a campaign against saturated fats in favor of hydrogenated trans fats was being waged. We all know how that turned out! Turns out that trans fats are a hundred times more dangerous than saturated fats. And natural fats and oils like coconut oil are very safe—they don’t tend to go rancid outside or inside the body. Fortunately they are making a comeback.

The list of properties of coconut oil is much like those for sesame oil. Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. But it has a very different makeup. Coconut oil contains approximately 92.1% saturated fatty acids, 6.2% monounsaturated fatty acids, 1.6% polyunsaturated fatty acids. One claim-to-fame is that it’s composed mostly of easily digested medium chain fatty acids.

Questions and Answers

Coconut oil and sesame oil tend to be a bit pricey. Are there any other oils I can try?

Ayurveda oil pulling actually focuses on sesame and sunflower oil and say these are the best forms to use. I don’t know their opinion of coconut oil…it’s not grown in India. And some people use olive oil. Again, olives are not grown in India so there is no Ayurvedic experience with this oil.

Coconut oil seems to make my throat scratchy. What do you think is going on?

The exact same thing happens to me. An Ayurvedic practitioner told me it’s because coconut oil is “cooling” and I would be much better off using sesame oil, which has a “neutral” temperature. I assume the cooling effect of coconut oil causes mucus to gather and irritate the throat. So, just switch to sesame oil and see how that goes for you. It works well for me.

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