There has been a lot of hype in the mainstream media about “oil pulling” for a healthier mouth and well, a healthier all kinds of things! The idea is to put 1 – 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or sunflower oil in your mouth and swish it around for 15 – 20 minutes; do this first, every morning. Then brush your teeth afterwards.
One tablespoon of cold pressed, organic sesame oil seems to be the preferred oil to use.
The oil is supposed to increase the secretion of saliva produced in your mouth and in doing so it has been said it reduces plaque, removes bacteria and naturally cleans your teeth and gums leaving you with fresh breath.
This new fad is really thousands of years old and was practiced in Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative medicine native to a southern region of Asia.
Some have written that the oil is difficult to keep in your mouth for the recommended time without vomiting, but the method is to swish the oil, pushing and pulling it through the teeth, as opposed to a gargle technique.
Keep in mind the increased saliva will increase the amount of fluid in your mouth, so the original 1 -2 tablespoons will soon become a much larger amount of fluid. Upon spitting it out, it should be frothy, if not, you are doing it wrong according to the experts.
As the oil mixes with your natural saliva, the lipids in the oil pull out toxins from the saliva, absorbing them so when you spit out the oil, you spit out the toxins before they are reabsorbed in the body.
While I couldn’t readily find any reputably named scientific studies, some “studies” have shown that the sesami oil reduces the amount of germs in the plaque on your teeth and in your spit. The “soapy” environment created by all the swishing around naturally cleans the mouth and reduces fungus.
Other suggested benefits include:
- Better smelling breath
- Prevention of oral dryness
- Strengthening of the teeth, gum and jaw
Still other suggested benefits claimed are:
- Reduction in migraine headaches
- Cures hang-overs
- Reduces allergy symptoms and sinus congestion
- Better sleep
- Improves your skin
According to US News, coconut oil may stop plaque from forming, but the evidence of expecting greater benefits is lacking. “There’s absolutely no data whatsoever that shows diabetes can be treated or prevented, or that heart disease can be,” says Lyla Blake-Gumbs, a physician with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. “It’s not a new practice – it’s been done thousands of years – but there were no real records kept. So I can’t go to any objective, well-run clinical trials to look into the other claims.”
While on the lookout for affordable, healthy alternatives, oil pulling is relatively simple and a non-invasive, painless, inexpensive treatment. So try it for yourself if you feel so inclined to do so, but a few words of warning, “Don’t swallow the oil.” You may end up with an upset stomach or even diarrhea!
One more important item to consider: Don’t spit into your sink or in the toilet as the oil may clog your pipes; it’s best to spit into something disposable and toss it into the trash.