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What is Oil Pulling and Why Is It Good For My Teeth?
What the heck is oil pulling and why is it good for my teeth?
I ran across some articles today talking about oil pulling.
I was intrigued.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been used to pull toxins from the mouth.
Dr. Amala Guha, assistant professor of immunology and medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center and the founding president of The International Society for Ayurveda and Health said that using liquids in the mouth for health purposes is mentioned in two ancient Indian Ayurvedic texts (one written in 800 B.C. and the other in 700 B.C.), and the practice is part of one of the oldest health systems in the world. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/health/oil-pulling/index.html)
According to the ancient texts, oil pulling is a cure for about 30 different diseases including diabetes and headaches.
There are two techniques:
- Put the liquid into your mouth hold it for a couple of minutes and swish inside your mouth for 3-5 minutes.
- Repeat at least 3 times.
- Hold the liquid in the mouth for 3-5 minutes without swishing.
- Spit and repeat several times.
Dr. Guha said that many liquids can be used for the process including infusions and decoctions of herbs, milk, honey and oils.
Guha recommends using coconut or sesame oils.
Seeing results will probably take a few months but most people report stronger gums, less plaque buildup and cavity prevention.
The Ayurvedic claims seem to be supported by scientific studies.
A 2009 study done with adolescent boys with plaque induced gingivitis showed that oil pulling greatly reduced the plaque buildup and gingivitis.
These results were reinforced in a larger study done in 2013. The lauric acid in coconut oil kills the bacterium Streptococcus mutans that causes plaque and also helps get rid of viruses and yeast.
The American Dental association does not endorse the use of oil pulling and says there aren’t enough studies to warrant its use. However, they say that it does not appear to cause harm.
As to using the technique for other cures, Dr. Guha said that none of the Ayurvedic schools in the US are certified. Only the schools in India are certified schools.
Improper Ayurvedic practice can cause problems so it’s best to seek out someone trained at a certified school of Ayurveda.
Amla, Bilberries, Hawthorne Berries and Liquorice root are some of the herbs used with the technique in treating diseases of the mouth.
Neem is used as a chewing stick for dental health.
Studies with neem show that it can be effective in reducing dental caries.
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, oil pulling can be used where brushing is contraindicated.
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Anita Hales, CH
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