In the light of western interests moving towards holistic and organic techniques to maintain ones wellbeing, oil pulling has resurged in the 21st century as a growing trend to detoxify and improve oral health.
Although this age old Ayurvedic practice has been embraced primarily by people who believe it is a natural way of whitening teeth, not much else is known about the science behind oil pulling and the extent of its benefits. In fact, there are numerous oral and systematic health benefits to be explored in more depth. It has been claimed that oil pulling can enhance oral health, whiten teeth and generally improve overall health and well being.
What is it?
Oil pulling is an age old Ayurvedic practice where oil is swished around the mouth to remove bacteria and toxins from the oral cavity.
A variety of edible oils can be used from sesame seed to linseed to olive oil. The practice involves placing the oil inside the mouth and swishing the oil through the teeth, anywhere from 30 seconds to up to 20 minutes or longer. With the 21st century rise in obsession with coconut oil, this has been the preferred oil of choice when oil pulling.
Originating from Asia and India, the practice of oil pulling was part of a traditional folk remedy from more than 3000 years ago. The Ayurvedic gargling treatment was prescribed to treat imbalances of the 'doshas', three elements that are involved in depicting ones overall health and wellbeing.
Gargling treatments such as Kavala Graha required swishing sesame or sunflower oil around in the mouth. A variety of different treatments were prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners to combat the problem of inflammation or dryness in the mouth, as well as oral and gum diseases. So how did this natural and holistic remedy adapt to become a fashionable trend in our modern day?
The aestheticised oil pulling that we know of today began almost 30 years ago by Tummala Kotesware Rao of Bangalore, India. The beneficial uses of oil had just been recognised at this time by the commercial and beauty industry. Although sesame oil was the most popular oil used, the emergence of cold pressed oils, and coconut oil in particular was realised as a highly effective oil for oil pulling.
There has been little research into the actual science behind the beneficial effects of oil pulling and skeptics have been resistant, claiming that there is no solid evidence to prove the actual benefits. However, looking beyond the Ayurvedic roots in therapeutic beliefs and ancient traditions, we propose that oil pulling as a longstanding practice should be considered with more credit at first glance. Therefore, some detail will be delved into about the oil pulling process in depth (with as little jargon as possible!)
First of all, coconut oil is full of fatty acids which contain medicinal properties. The fatty acids found in coconut oil are not the same as those in other products high in saturated fat as they are metabolised in a different way. These are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which are fatty acids of a medium length, as opposed to long chain fatty acids. MCTs are transferred to the liver from the digestive tract where they can be used as a quick source of energy or turned into 'ketone bodies'. These have therapeutic effects on brain disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's.
Secondly, almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is made up of 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When the enzymes in coconut oil are digested, a monoglyceride called monolaurin is also formed. Both lauric acid and monolaurin are effective in killing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Now going back to oil pulling, the process of swishing coconut oil around the mouth essentially reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. The oil mixes with saliva creating a thin liquid that travels between your teeth and gums to places where bacteria hide. The oils bind to the biofilm, or plaque, on the teeth and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth.
Many of these microorganisms are coated with fat – a lipid bilayer that is attracted to other fats and in this case, the fat of the pulling oils. Bacteria is absorbed into the pulling oil during swishing and removed during the expulsion of the oil from your mouth. This is why spitting the oil out instead of swallowing it is an important last step, as you don’t want to reabsorb these toxins.
There result of oil pulling can be visibly seen in even a week as the oil pulls away stains to leave naturally whiter teeth. As well as this, the bacteria responsible for dental decay, gum disease, bone loss, tooth loss and other oral diseases are removed in the process of oil pulling. There is an overall strengthening of the teeth and gums and jaws. As well as oral health, system health can be cured with conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes mellitus, asthma and acne minimised with regular use. Here is just a short list of the potential benefits of long term oil pulling:
- Cures tooth decay
- Kills bad breath
- Heals bleeding gums
- Prevents heart disease
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts immune system
- Soothes dry throat
- Whitens teeth
- Repairs cracked lips
- Clears acne
- Strengthens gums
- Prevents cavities
- Boosts metabolism
Step by step how to oil pull
1. Use one sachet of Chi White coconut oil pulling in your mouth
2. Swish around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes
3. Spit out the oil (preferably mot in the sink)
4. Brush teeth as usual
Our very own Chi White coconut oil pulling sachets are available in a two week course box set. Organic coconut oil and organic flavoured peppermint to keep you feeling fresh! Use one sachet each day before cleaning your teeth