Recent studies show that oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath. How? We know that most of the microorganisms in your mouth consist of a single cell that are covered with a lipid, or fatty, membrane, which is the cell’s skin. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other and are eliminated when you spit out the oil.
There are a lot of wild claims about oil pulling online and I don’t know if I believe all of them. However, oil pulling IS effective at reducing the harmful bacteria in your mouth and improving oral and dental health.
Given that inflammation can cause all sorts of health problems, it does make sense that reducing inflammation in the gums and mouth could lead to benefits for overall health as well. There’s a reason that it has been popular in Ayervedic medicine for thousands of years.
Perhaps this is the reason why many people report improvements in health issues that really have nothing to do with the mouth.
- Use coconut oil. While you can get the same bacteria-fighting benefits with sesame or sunflower oil, coconut oil has the added benefit of lauric acid, which is well-known for its anti-microbial agents which makes it even more effective. Also, a recent study found that coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay.
- Use an essential oil. It’s not mandatory, but I like to use 2-3 drops of essential oil to add extra germ-fighting benefits. My favorites are either On Guard or Melaleuca to make my mouth feel extra fresh and to keep my gums healthy.
- Start with just 5 minutes a day. Twenty minutes of swishing is a long time, and while the longer you pull, the more bacteria you’ll remove, 5 or 10 minutes will still offer a big benefit. Work your way up a few minutes each day until you get to 20 minutes. I like to do it during my shower so I’m not tempted to talk. If your jaw starts aching, take it easy. A gentle motion swishing, pushing, and sucking the oil through the teeth is all that you need to do.
- Don’t swallow. If you find it hard not to swallow, you likely have too much oil in your mouth. Spit it out and try again with a smaller amount. Note: Make sure you don’t spit it in the sink, as the oil will eventually clog your pipes. Just spit the used oil into the nearest trash can (make sure it is lined with a plastic bag or you’ll have a mess!).
- Don’t skip brushing and flossing. Oil pulling should never replace routine dental visits and traditional home oral care. Some say it even reverses the effects of tooth decay, but at the very least, it’s a great supplemental therapy.
I’ve been personally oil pulling for several months. My teeth have never felt cleaner. I’ve noticed my teeth are whiter and my gums feel stronger (they never bleed when I floss anymore like they used to). I will keep doing it and recommend to anyone.