With all the advanced mouthwashes out there, one of the best remedies for healthy gums can be found in your own kitchen. By swishing just a bit of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth – called oil pulling - you can improve the health of your mouth and your general health as well.
Oil pulling is an Ancient practice dating back 3000 years. It involves swishing and holding oil in the mouth as a part of daily oral care routine. In addition to keeping the mouth healthy, it is said to help keep the mind clear and help overall health.
CREATING HARMONY IN THE ECOSYSTEM OF YOUR MOUTH
This practice is in keeping with the idea of creating harmony in the body that is a core principal of Ayurveda. With oil pulling you help maintain a healthy ecosystem in your mouth, home to billions of bacteria and yeasts. Even though some potentially harmful bacteria are usually present, they cannot thrive in a healthy mouth environment.
GUM DISEASE AFFECTS YOUR WHOLE BODY
Healthy gums adhere to base teeth, feel firm, and they do not bleed. Inflammation of the gums due to overgrowth of bacteria causes changes – bleeding, soreness and swelling, with deeper crevices next to the teeth.
These changes allow unhealthy bacteria have easier access to get directly into the bloodstream and travel to remote areas of the body.
In people with gum disease, mouth bacteria are found more often in heart tissue. In people with healthy gums, there are far fewer mouth bacteria in the heart.
GUM INFLAMMATION AND YOUR HEALTH
Inflammation has been given a bad rap, but it is a normal part of the immune system. Normally, inflammation continues for a couple of weeks until an infection or injury has resolved, then the immune system goes back into resting mode.
However in a person with gum disease, the immune system may perceive the overgrowth of bacteria as an “infection” and trigger an attack. This could go on for months or years. White blood cells in attack mode release cytokines, messenger chemicals that tell other white blood cells throughout the body to “search and destroy” damaging healthy tissue not just in the mouth but in other areas of the body.
Researchers are finding a link between chronic inflammation in the mouth and diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
NOW TAKE A SWIG OF OIL AND SWISH!
Oil pulling reduces bacterial overgrowth, resulting in less inflammation. It helps keep gum tissues healthy and toned, reducing the access of mouth bacteria to circulation.
HOW TO DO IT:
Take 1 Tbs oil, swish and press through your teeth, around your whole mouth cavity including the area behind your teeth, for 15-20 minutes.
You can start with a smaller amount of oil and swish for just a few minutes and gradually increase.
Be careful not to swallow the oil. It is recommended to spit out the oils in a trash bin or the toilet to avoid potential clogs in your drain.
It can depend on the person, but the general time from in clinical studies has been about 1 month, though in some cases changes were seen as early as a week.
Which oils to choose?
Traditionally sesame oil is used. It has been shown to reduce s. mutans, the cavity-causing bacteria.
Coconut oil is often preferred due to its strong antimicrobial activity. It contains lauric acid, a natural component shown to disrupt membranes of bacteria and reduce cavity-causing S. mutans. Due to these properties, coconut oil is also used as dietary treatment for reducing harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract.
My personal choice is coconut oil due to its antimicrobial properties. In a pinch, you could use any cold-pressed organic oils.
OIL-PULLING: A PART OF YOUR OVERALL DENTAL CARE
Oil-pulling is a valuable part of your oral care routine, do along with brushing and flossing and regular dental care.
Enjoy the benefits of this daily practice!