Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to strengthen teeth, fight bad breath, improve digestion and help relieve various other conditions, including headaches. The efficacy of the remedy is still in question, but some recent studies have shown it is effective in fighting bacteria and plaque in the mouth. A study conducted by the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in India and published on PubMed.gov concluded, "The oil pulling therapy showed a reduction in the plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis."
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 1 tbsp sesame oil or sunflower oil
- 3 to 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 3% Solution of hydrogen peroxide diluted in water
Add 3 to 5 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of sesame oil. Sesame oil is the traditional oil recommended for oil pulling because of its high nutritional content and anti-inflammatory properties. PubMed.gov states, "Sesame oil was evaluated in the treatment of in C57BL/6 mice. It has profound anti-inflammatory activity and been traditionally used to treat inflammatory disorders." Other oils that can be used as substitutes are sunflower oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or any other cold-pressed vegetable oil.
Put the sesame-tea tree oil mix in the mouth and swish it around like you would a mouthwash. Tea tree essential oil is known for its antibacterial properties and for improving the gums. The use of essential oils for oral care has proven to be effective. According to another study published on PubMed.gov, "Oral care with essential oil could be an effective oral health nursing intervention."
Rinse the mouth and teeth with the oils for 15 to 20 minutes. Swish it around the mouth, reaching all areas especially around the teeth. Natural News suggests, "Chances are good that it will take a few days to adjust to this procedure. You may need to spit the oil out after only a few minutes when you start. The oil will mix with your saliva, becoming thin and white. It`s said that when it becomes white, this is an indicator that it has 'pulled' toxins, and you can spit it out."
Dispose of the oil by spitting it into a sink or toilet. It is also recommended to throw it away in a dustbin or a compost bin as the oil is usually very think and could clog the sink drainage.
Wash your mouth thoroughly after spitting the oil. You could just wash it with regular water or use a three-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide diluted in water, which will help get rid of any remaining toxins in the mouth that were pulled during the oil pulling process.
Tips and warnings
- It is recommended to do oil pulling early in the morning, upon waking up and before eating.
- Do not swallow the oil as it becomes toxic after oil pulling.
- Avoid swallowing the hydrogen peroxide solution, as it could cause problems when swallowed in large amounts.
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- PubMed.gov: Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomised, controlled, triple-blind study.
- NaturalNews.com: Oil Pulling is a Simple, Inexpensive Method to Improve Your Health
- PubMed.gov: Effects of oral care with essential oil on improvement in oral health status of hospice patients.