At this point everyone is aware of the many health benefits and uses of coconut oil. However, if you are to do a little research on the Internet you`ll notice that not many people are familiar with “Oil Pulling”.
Oil pulling refers to using oil as mouthwash and the effectiveness of the process itself is backed up by science, too. What`s more, those who have tried it swear by it!
What is Oil Pulling and How Does it Work?
Oil pulling has been long used as part of Indian folk medicine. As a process, it involves putting a tablespoon of oil in the mouth and swirling it around for about 10-20 minutes.
There is a wide range of bacteria in the mouth, some of which are beneficial, some of which are bad. The latter can cause damage, such as Streptococcus Mutans, which is the key reason for cavities, gingivitis, and plaque buildup.
Bacteria in the mouth form a “biofilm” on the teeth, which is a thin layer commonly known as plague. While having some plaque on the teeth is completely normal, it can cause many problems if it goes out of control.
Oil pulling removes a notable amount of both bacteria and plaque in the mouth. When swirling the oil in the mouth, bacteria get trapped in the liquid and dissolve in it. Indians used sesame or sunflower oil for this purpose, but it works the same with any oil you choose. However, coconut oil is by far the best option, as its lauric acid content has been shown to kill off fungi, viruses, and bacteria. In addition to this, the taste of coconut oil is more pleasant than oils like sesame, sunflower, or olive oil.
Oil Pulling and Streptococcus Mutans
Streptococcus Mutans is one of the main bacteria present in human oral cavity and is believed to be the most common cause of tooth decay and plague buildup.
According to a 2010 study involving 20 adolescent boys, oil pulling with sesame oil led to reduction in the number of Streptococcus Mutans in the plaque within two weeks.
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Plaque and Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a condition caused by swelling/ inflammation of the gums and occurs when the immune system begins to attack the bacteria in the plague.
As found by a study that compared the effects of oil pulling and chlorhexidine in adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis, both of them exhibited the same activity against gingivitis.
Oil Pulling Can Reduce Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Halitosis, commonly referred to as bad breath, is typically caused by the smell of gasses and chemicals produced in the oral cavity. Hence, getting rid of these bacteria is the key to reducing bad breath.
A study of 20 adolescent has shown that oil pulling reduced all markers for bad breath, providing the same effects as the popular chlorhexidine mouthwash.
How to Oil Pull
Oil pulling is extremely simple, yet incredibly effective.
- Put a tablespoon of oil in the mouth
- Swirl it in the mouth for up to 20 minutes
- Spit out the oil
- Brush the teeth as you normally do
If you use coconut oil, it is very likely that you`ll have to chew on it for a while so that it melts. Right upon waking up and before brushing the teeth is the best time to do this technique.
Note: Never swallow the oil as it is full of bacteria. Spit out the oil when done!
What to Expect
Within a few days, your breath will be much fresher and your teeth regain their original white color and shine. In brief, oil pulling will help reduce detrimental bacteria in the mouth and improve oral and dental health in general.