Oil pulling, also known as “kavala” or “gundusha,” is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action supposedly draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health.
How to perform oil pulling?
Oil pulling is a growing trend, but it’s not new.
“This oral therapy is a type of Ayurvedic medicine [a traditional Indian system] that dates back 3,000 years,” says Jessica T. Emery, DMD, owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago. “It involves swishing approximately 1 tablespoon of oil — typically coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil — in your mouth for about 20 minutes and then spitting it out.”
- Put 1-2 teaspoons of the selected oil into the mouth.
- Swish for 20 minutes. The timing is essential due to the fact that this duration of 20 minutes is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky and it would be creamy-white when spit out.
- Spit oil into the trash can rather into the sink. Likewise, do not swallow the oil since it is full of bacteria, toxins and pus that are not in the mouth any longer.
- Rinse well with lukewarm water.
- Lastly, brush well.
Coconut oil pulling is one of the best ways to remove bacteria and promote healthy teeth and gums!
It has taken quite some time, but oil pulling has finally gained some popularity in the United States.
How does oil pulling work?
The concept is incredibly simple. Basically, a person swishes a couple teaspoons of a vegetable based oil (coconut, sesame or olive) in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spits it out and rinses well. Oil pulling is best done in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, though Dr. Bruce Fife suggests that it can be done before each meal if needed for more severe infections or dental problems.
Possibly the greatest risk of oil pulling is using it to replace time-tested treatments. For example, some believe that they can replace tooth-brushing sessions with oil pulling. “I am unfamiliar with any direct risks associated with oil pulling, but using it as a replacement for brushing would definitely increase your risk of getting cavities,” Brady told Live Science. “The oil won’t remove plaque or reduce bacteria enough to make a difference. You have to brush your teeth, mechanically removing plaque to protect your teeth.”
When oil pulling, the oils (especially oils with naturally antibacterial properties) bind to the biofilm, or plaque, on the teeth and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth.
Streptococcus Mutans is one of the bacteria that is prominent in the mouth and it has been studied for its role in tooth decay and gum disease. Oil pulling has been shown to reduce the number of Streptococcus Mutans bacteria in the mouth, especially when done with coconut oil.
The taste of coconut oil is also fairly pleasant compared to other oils. I found it rather disgusting at first having my mouth full of oil, but I got used to it after a few days.