Upper respiratory symptoms and breath odor are issues for many people. Keeping the mouth clean and free of bacteria is an important step in dealing with these issues. Oil pulling, has been showing up in the news recently as a way to reduce bacteria in the mouth.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic method, which has been mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita1, for detoxing and rejuvenating the body. It is having its moment in the spotlight, thanks to the an easy-to-try technique and already-in-the-pantry ingredients.2
According to Food Matters, studies have shown that oil pulling can reduce the amount of S. mutans3 (germs) in the teeth and mouth. The theory holds that thanks to the slick surface the oil creates, it keeps bacteria from adhering to the cells in your body.
The most recent of these studies was published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in November 2014.4 The results show that oil pulling is just as effective at reducing oral malodor (bad breath) as the popular antimicrobial drug chlorhexidine.
Here are the steps:
Step1: First thing in the morning on an empty stomach and before drinking any liquid, including water, put one tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil into your mouth. We recommend the morning as the best time to do this process.
Step 2: Swish the oil around in your mouth without swallowing it. Move the oil around in your mouth and through your teeth like mouthwash. Do not tilt your head back to gargle, we want to keep it in the mouth. You’ll find that the oil will start to get watery as your saliva mixes with it. Continue swishing gently, not vigorously, in a relaxed way for about 20 minutes. The oil may become whitish and thinner, turning into a milky consistency as it pulls out the toxins.
Step3: At the end of the oil pulling session, spit the oil out into a container that can be discarded in the trash. Do not spit into the sink or toilet since the oil can clog your plumbing. Then rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Salt water rinsing isn’t critical to the success of oil pulling, but the salt water is very helpful as an antimicrobial and to soothe inflammation.
_________________________________________________________1 Caraka Samhita – online version Ray and Gupta, National Institute of Sciences, India 2 “What Is Oil Pulling (And Is It Worth Trying)?”. Huffpost Living. Retrieved 20 March 2014 3 Food Matters.TV
4 Sood P, Devi M A, Narang R, V S, Makkar DK. Comparative efficacy of oil pulling and chlorhexidine on oral malodor: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Nov;8(11):ZC18-21. PubMed PMID: 25584309