Oil pulling originated as an Ayurveda practice possibly 10,000 years ago but was coined as "oil pulling" in the 1990's by Ukranian Physician, Dr. F. Karach. Historically oil pulling has been done to improve a variety of different health ailments. Some say they have noticed health problems mysteriously clear up after just a few days of oil pulling-as though the toxins are pulled right out of them. I decided it was time to learn what oil pulling is while attempting to separate the real benefits of oil pulling from the hype. Sometimes scientific studies are in short supply when it comes to natural remedies like oil pulling, so I was relieved to find there already have been a few studies indicating support for the benefits of oil pulling, particularly in the area of oral care. From there we can deduce why some of the other testimonial health benefits may be taking place.
Oil Pulling to Reduce Streptococcus Mutans
Most pathogens effecting humans are gram positive organisms. This includes Streptococcus mutans which can survive in environments with or without oxygen and have an affinity for the mouth where, when out of balance, can contribute to tooth decay. There are 25 known species of Streptococci living in the mouth, but S. mutans are especially bad for those with a typical western diet because they use sugar to form the plaque that adheres to teeth. S. mutans turn other sugars into lactic acid, which is a byproduct of their digestion. The combination of the resulting plaque and lactic acid deplete minerals from your teeth making them especially vulnerable to tooth decay.
While there are hundreds of species of bacteria in our mouths, many are actually beneficial. Trouble arises only when potentially harmful bacteria, such as streptococcus mutans, get out of balance with other organisms, creating a hostile environment that is prone to cavities and infection.
Health Risks Associated with Harmful Bacterial Byproducts
Unfortunately, the damage doesn’t stop with your mouth. Some of the exotoxins that are bacterial byproducts can seep into the bloodstream sublingually just by swallowing your own saliva. And since everything in your body is interconnected anyway, a compromised immune system can lead to an assortment of seemingly unrelated acute and chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, digestive issues, headaches, respiratory problems, or Alzheimer’s disease. Streptococcus mutans are commonly found in the heart tissues of those suffering from cardiovascular disease. Periodontal infections seem to increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Evidence suggests that oil pulling with sesame oil (and presumably others with antibacterial properties, such as coconut oil) leads to a reduction of plaque and streptococcus mutans. This would make oil pulling a proactive measure in maintaining good oral hygiene, which could have widespread benefits for the rest of the body as well.
How to Do Oil Pulling (or oil swishing):
Watch How to Do Oil Pulling from Mama Natural
Oil pulling, or "KAVALA GRAHA," is quite a simple process:
1) First thing in the morning before eating, swish one tablespoon of sesame oil, or other cold-pressed oil like coconut oil around your mouth, teeth and gums for 15-20 minutes.
2) The oil will sink down into your gums and crevices helping to absorb less accessible bacteria.
3) Take care not to gargle it in your throat as that could cause you to gag and spread bacteria.
4) The used oil should never be swallowed after oil pulling. Think of it like getting an oil change for your car- your body runs a little smoother when you get the crud out.
5) Spit the used oil into a receptacle such as a disposable cup or jar. Although I admit I have spit it into the toilet, it is not an environmentally friendly thing to have a lot of people putting oil into our waterways.
One of the first things people often notice after oil pulling is an improvement in oral hygiene. Teeth may appear whiter, breath fresher, and gums healthier.
Some people have reported that oil pulling improves sleep quality, skin problems, joint pain, allergies, bad breath, sinus problems, teeth, receding gums, mouth infections, and digestive troubles.
Additional Tips for Oral Care:
Saliva helps protect against the growth of colonizing bacteria such as streptococcus mutans. Chewing gum, especially with xylitol, may be beneficial.
Tea tree oil mouthwash, green tea extract, a compound found in nutmeg called macelignan, licorice root extract of glycyrrhizol, and a topical antibiotic called Keep32, or the curcuminoids found in turmeric can all also help to reduce the quantity of Streptococcus mutans in your mouth. Any of these combined with oil pulling with coconut oil or sesame oil are sure to lead to better overall oral health.
Have you tried pulling oil? We'd love to hear your results with oil pulling.
Further Reading Resources for Oil Pulling:
Oil Pulling Therapy Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by
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