When I first read about oil pulling on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest… well, it didn’t make so much sense. So tomorrow will be my first morning of “oil pulling”. I will have a blog update in two weeks about my experience with oil pulling for all of our MOD Squad bloggers. Why not right? If it helps oral health I would love to be able to share this with my patients. Below is the science behind all the social media buzz.
Oil pulling is the ancient Ayurvedic technique that basically involveda tablespoon of cold-pressed oil around in your mouth every morning for 20 minutes. Because purportedly, this swishing will pull the “toxins” out from all over your body, drawing them into the oil and therefore cleansing your whole system. Which heals your gums and whitens your teeth. Because the oil pulls the “toxins” out of your tongue.
So, no. That doesn’t make any sense.
So yes, I am curious and so is my dental team. And that desperation led me to dig deeper. I read testimony after testimony of people who had restored their oral health using oil pulling, and I just couldn’t help but wonder. Was there something to this? Was there something more, maybe something scientifically sound, going on there?
Yes! What I finally found, to my delight, was a totally plausible explanation of how oil pulling might actually impact oral health in a positive way. Essentially, a rational explanation for all these amazing and seemingly-mystical results. It goes like this:
Plaque accumulates along the base of your teeth, causing little pockets to form under your gums. These pockets become home to harmful bacteria. The bacteria produce toxins (real ones, not “woo woo” mystical ones) that irritate your gums, causing inflammation and bleeding. This is gingivitis. It’s basically a factory of toxicity in your mouth, happily tucked away up under your gums, overloading your immune system with bacterial exotoxins and endotoxins every single time you swallow.
And how does oil pulling fit in? Well, that’s an interesting question.
It appears that the key to successful oil pulling is in the duration of the swishing. See, oil is viscous, so it’s “sticky.” And it spreads. Given enough time (like, say, a full 20 minutes), it will slowly seep all the way up into those bacteria-filled pockets. Tooth brush bristles can’t get up there. Toothpaste is foamy and runny, not sticky at all, so it won’t get up there. Mouthwash isn’t viscous at all. But oil – oil creeps into every nook and cranny. It seeps in everywhere, and then as you swish, it’s drawn back out. Oil pulling is a different approach to reaching, and dislodging, those harmful bacteria that are buried so deeply under your gum line. I am not saying to NOT brush your teeth or use toothpaste as that serves a purpose as well.
I am curious enough and convinced enough to give oil pulling a try. My team and I will be oil pulling for 2 weeks every morning. I mean if it works, why not share this information with all of our patients.
How to Try Oil Pulling:
- Every morning, first thing in the morning, before brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth out, measure one tablespoon of virgin cold-pressed sesame, coconut, sunflower, or olive oil (sesame and coconut are the most reputed).
- Swish this oil around in your mouth, letting it pass over your tongue, your gums, and all your teeth, and trying your best to move it between each tooth, for a full 20 minutes.
- The oil will turn white and frothy. Don’t gargle it or you’ll risk swallowing it. When the 20 minutes is up, spit it all out. Not into the sink as it will become solid and possibly clog your pipes.
- Thoroughly rinse your mouth out. Brush your teeth as normal. Go about your day.
- Repeat daily for a minimum of 30 days, but ideally 45-60 days.