What’s the Deal with Coconut Oil Pulling?

coconut oil pullingOil pulling is an age-old detoxifying Ayurvedic technique that uses natural substances to detoxify the mouth – teeth and gums. Evidence suggests that this remedy removes harmful bacteria, improves the health of gums, and naturally whitens your teeth.
 
The technique involves swishing about one to two tablespoons of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes each day to improve your oral health. The oil effectively cuts through plaque on your teeth to remove toxins without disturbing your teeth or gums. It is essentially substituting your mouthwash with high quality organic oil that “pulls” harmful bacteria off your teeth and gums.
 
The longer you pull and push the oil around your mouth, the more microbes you pull free. It is recommended that you swish the oil until it turns to a milky white, indicating that the bacteria, viruses, and other microbes have been pulled off. This usually takes about 20 minutes, after which you spit out the oil and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
 
In many cases, oil pulling has been claimed to help:
 
● Reduce gingivitis
 
● Alleviate halitosis – bad breath
 
● Whiten teeth
 
● Relieve tooth and gum sensitivity
 
● Prevent cavities
 
What oils are used?
To begin with, you should note that most microbes found in the mouth comprise a single cell. Cells are surrounded with a fatty membrane, which is essentially the skin of the cell. When these cells come in contact with oil (fat), they naturally hold on to each other.
 
People use a range of oils for this purpose, including sunflower and sesame oil. However, these oils are high in omega 6 fats, which are pro-inflammatory. So, coconut oil is preferred.
 
About half of the fat in coconut oil consists of lauric acid, which is known to fight bacteria. Studies have shown that coconut oil:
 
● Moisturizes the skin
● Improves digestion
● Balances hormones
● Balances blood sugar
● Improves energy
● Kills Candida
● Decreases wrinkles and age spots
● Burns fat
● Increases HDL and lowers LDL cholesterol
 
In addition, research suggests that the oil is highly absorbable, which means that you can gain these benefits by simply oil pulling.
 
Final Note
Oil therapy is claimed to be both preventative and curative, with numerous benefits that reach far beyond dental health.
 
Note that regular (4-5 times a week) oil pulling is not a substitute for traditional at-home care and dental visits. As good as this 3,000 year old practice may be, it does not reverse the effects of tooth decay & should be used as a supplement.