Dating back to the traditional Hindu system of medicine called Ayurvedic, oil pulling refers to the swishing or holding oils from plants in your mouth for an extended period of time for the purpose of experiencing a number of health benefits.
While not all practitioners report the same results, some health benefits that have been associated with the technique including curing eczema, gum disease, bad breath and arthritis, and whitening the teeth.
Oil pulling operates on the theory that we regularly experience a build-up of bacteria and toxins within our mouth from our regular daily activities. If left to impact our oral health, they promote tooth decay and gum disease among other negative experiences. Oil pulling collects these toxins, drawing them out with the oil and banishing them from the body when you spit out the contaminated oils. It is also said to increase saliva production (allowing you to continue flushing bacteria effectively from the mouth) and moisturizing your gums. Many people even claim that it is more effective in promoting good oral health than a regular flossing routine.
Furthermore, poor oral health has been associated with a number of health conditions impacting your whole body including heart disease, dementia, blood-borne infections, and cancer. Others have reported that by removing toxins from the body you will experience more energy, fewer migraines and headaches and clear skin. By taking steps to improve your oral care you will then, as a result, improve your overall health and well-being. It is important to note, however, that oil pulling is not meant to replace brushing your teeth and flossing, but rather to complement the two activities for a better overall approach to oral care.
How to Practice Oil Pulling
The first step is selecting the right oil for your use. There are a number of different plant oils that can be used including sunflower, coconut, sesame, olive, and palm. With the rise in popularity of coconut oil and its many uses and benefits, it has become a popular choice. If you are using coconut oil it becomes a soil when it is below 75 degrees Fahrenheit which, if used alone, would involve trying to swish a solid mass of oil in your mouth. You can, however, blend coconut oil with sesame and sunflower oil for a mixture that is easier to work with.
Place approximately ½ to 1 tablespoon of oil into your mouth. If the oil is still slightly solid from being kept at room temperature, allow the heat within your mouth to warm it up bringing it to a consistency that you are able to work with. Swirl the oil around your mouth ensuring that it reaches all areas of the mouth, focusing specifically on the gums and between the teeth. Throughout this time avoid contact with your throat, as swallowing any of the oil will also mean swallowing the toxins and bacteria that you are drawing out. Continue to swish the oil around for approximately 15-20 minutes. During this time, you can allow it to sit and rest for short periods of time so long as it is in contact with the areas you are trying to cleanse. Once completed spit the oil out into your sink or garbage bag, being careful to get as much of the oil out of your mouth as you can (remember, it is now carrying the toxins and bacteria from your mouth). Follow up by brushing your teeth and rinsing the mouth.
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