Oil pulling is a leading Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) procedure in which oil is swished in the mouth for about 20 minutes for better oral and systemic health. A traditional Indian remedy, it is famed to cure about 30 systemic diseases.
The concept of ‘oil-pulling’ or ‘oil gargling’ dates back thousands of years ago. Discussed in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita where it is named as ‘Kavala Graham’ or ‘Kavala Gandusha’, it is supposed to prevent both oral and systemic diseases. It prevents decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw. Headache, migraine, diabetes, asthma etc are some systemic diseases over which it has healing properties. It was further familiarized by Dr.F.Karach in the 1990s in Russia.
Oils Used for the Procedure
Traditionally sesame oil was used because of its nutritional and beneficiary effects. It has a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E. Today organic oils like sunflower oil can be used. The most widely recommended oil is coconut oil which has high concentration of lauric acid, well known for its antimicrobial actions. Corn oil, Rice Bran oil, Palm oil and Soya oil can also be used.
It is best done on an empty stomach preferably in the morning before any liquid is drunk. About a tablespoon of oil is taken in the mouth and swished and swirled for about 20 minutes like a mouthwash. Now it needs to be spit out, mouth rinsed well with warm water and teeth brushed normally if desired. It’s advisable to drink 2-3 glasses of purified water after it.The procedure can be done daily, even twice a day.
Its exact mechanism is not known but it is believed that oil acts as a cleanser and works around the teeth and gums to ‘pull’ out bacteria and other toxins and food particles. Oil pulling is famed for detoxifying effect. Swirling of oil in the mouth activates enzymes and drew toxins out of the blood. These toxins normally come out as mucous from the throat and sinuses. The mucous flow starts within 5-7 minutes of swirling. Swirling and swishing also emulsifies the oil and forms a soapy layer on the teeth which deters any bacteria from any adhesion on the tooth’s surface, thereby preventing plaque co-aggregation. The oil spit out is often yellow in color because of toxins. This oil should never be swallowed.
Still requiring a scientific certificate,”oil-pulling” therapy has nevertheless shown excellent results in acquiring good oral and systemic health and is highly recommended as a daily routine