By Jerry Del Priore
I just recently discovered the ancient practice of oil pulling. You may ask, what is this ritual? Well, oil pulling is a type of oral care that falls under the guise of Ayurvedic medicine–a traditional Indian system that dates back 3,000 years, according to medical experts.
It helps ward off the bacteria in your mouth, helping to treat or prevent gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath. Plus, the ancient oral hygiene practice may whiten teeth and prevent tooth decay.
Oil pulling involves whooshing around one tablespoon of oil—usually coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil—in your mouth for approximately 20 minutes daily, though five to 15 minutes will provide some benefits. Then, spitting it out. It’s important to note that you should discard it in a garbage can, not in a sink, as the oil can clog drain pipes.
How does it work? Most microbes, which call your mouth its home, contain a single cell. Cells are enclosed by a lipid, or fat, outer layer, making up the cell’s skin. When these cells meet an oil, which is a fat, they attach to each other, as in a pulling fashion, hence the name; like attracts like, so to speak.
You can get the same bacteria-battling advantages with sesame or sunflower oil, but coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is known for its anti-infectious properties, making it the go-to oil.
Before I had heart issues, I had gum trouble. I have often read that oral health is a good indicator of your overall health. Oil pulling, in my opinion, may prevent you from ingesting excess bacteria, which might negatively affect your health. It shouldn’t, however, replace your brushing and flossing regime, just a supplement to it.
Therefore, give oil pulling a try. It just may be worth the small effort for a better smile, and improved overall health.