Oil pulling, also known as "kavala" or "gundusha," is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action is said to draw out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health.
Oil Pulling Instructions:
1.Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the mouth. (I prefer to use coconut oil due to all of it’s antibacterial benefits however you are able to use sesame or Olive Oil) Swish for 20 minutes. This is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time and it should be creamy-white when spit out. It will also double in volume during this time due to saliva. You might find at first, it can be difficult to make it the full 20 minutes, and I didn’t stress if I could only swish for 5-10 minutes when I first started.
2.Spit oil into the trash can don’t spit into the sink! The oil may thicken and clog pipes. Do not swallow the oil as it is hopefully full of bacteria, toxins and pus that are now not in the mouth!
3.Rinse well with warm water to remove any remaining oil. Some sources recommend swishing with warm salt water.
Tip: When taking your probiotics make sure to give swish them around in your mouth before swallowing to help with oral bacteria.
There are hundreds of testimonials online from people who have experienced benefits from oil pulling, including help with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections,heart & liver problems,immunity and more. I personally have experienced increased oral health (no plaque & a reduction in receding gums) and less sensitive (and whiter!) teeth.
What's the connection between oral health and overall health?
Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria. Without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
In addition, certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.
Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — might play a role in some diseases. In addition, certain diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body's resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe.
What conditions may be linked to oral health?
Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Certain conditions also might affect your oral health, including:
Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels, and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
Alzheimer's disease. Worsening oral health is seen as Alzheimer's disease progresses.
Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, head and neck cancers, and Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth.