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Benefits of Various Oils Used for Oil Pulling

Leena Palande
Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic technique that helps maintain oral health is getting a lot of attention again. While describing the health-promoting properties of edible and essential oils, this story explains how the simple and inexpensive procedure of oil pulling offers a myriad of health benefits.
Did You Know?
According to the facts published by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), 59% of adolescents 12 to 19 have had dental caries in their permanent teeth, and 20% of adolescents 12 to 19 have untreated decay.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in the mouth for around 20 minutes. It should be done on an empty stomach, immediately after washing the mouth as one gets up in the morning.
You should not drink tea, coffee, or even water before doing this. It is believed that oil provides a surface layer that prevents bacteria or plaque from adhering to the teeth. The process leads to an increased secretion of saliva which acts as a detoxifying agent by trapping the toxins in the oil particles.
Prolonged swishing helps remove the undigested food particles and bacteria from the deep crevices within the teeth and the mouth.

Oil Pulling Technique

There are two oil pulling techniques, kavala graha and snigda gandusha. In kavala, you fill your mouth with one tablespoon of oil and hold it there for a couple of minutes. Spit it out after swirling it around the mouth. The process shouldn't exceed more than three or four minutes. But it should be repeated two to three times.
Do not gargle with the oil, and do not swallow the oil. In gandusha, you need to hold the oil in the mouth for a couple of minutes, and then gently slosh it around your mouth through the teeth in a relaxed way for about 15 - 20 minutes. You should then spit out the oil into the trash, and repeat the process two to three times.
Do not spit the oil into your basin, as it may clog the drain over time. At the end of the session, (kavala or gandusha), rinse the mouth with warm, salt water, scrap the tongue, and brush your teeth.

Benefits of Different Oils

You can use different oils for oil pulling. Mixing oils is also allowed, provided they blend well together. To reap the health benefits of an essential oil, you can add a few drops of the oil to coconut or sesame oil. Organic, unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin oils are considered as good oils for pulling.
Coconut oil, sunflower oil, and sesame oil are commonly used, but you can also use safflower, olive, or vegetable oil too if you want.
Coconut Oil
This oil has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. The lauric acid present in it helps kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It has a pleasant taste as well as compared to other oils. So, the whole, extra virgin coconut oil, which is high in antioxidants, is the best oil for oil pulling.
Sesame Oil
Certain studies suggest that it's the most effective oil for oil pulling, as it acts just like a chemical mouthwash and helps alleviate the symptoms of plaque-induced gingivitis. Traditionally, this oil was used for oil pulling.
It curbs the growth of Streptococcus mutans, which otherwise eventually leads to plaque formation. It exhibits antioxidant properties too.
According to Ayurvedic literature, it should be used daily for reducing dryness of the mouth (dry mouth promotes growth of bacteria). It helps reduce inflammation and burning sensation in the mouth.
Sunflower Oil
This is also one of the safest oils for oil pulling. It is rich in antioxidants. It also acts as an antimicrobial, as it is high in both linoleic acid and oleic acid. It helps soothe inflammation of the gums. Studies show that Siberian shamans practiced oil pulling with sunflower oil for more than a century.

Benefits of Essential Oils

Many essential oils exhibit anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiviral properties. Every day, you can use a different essential oil and can get maximum health benefits from them. The list of oils is never-ending. There exist hundreds of oils which are used for medicinal purposes.
Grapefruit Oil
Grapefruit oil keeps infections at bay. It also has a sharp refreshing smell. It is high in vitamin C, an antioxidant. It works as a cleansing and detoxifying agent.
Helichrysum Oil
This works great for chronic pain and bruises. It is a very expensive and scarcely available oil. But it has a very long shelf-life. It exhibits several medicinal properties.
Tea Tree Oil
You can add 3 - 4 drops of tea tree oil per tablespoon of oil that you want to use for swishing. It helps destroy oral bacteria. That is why it is used in various toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Peppermint Oil
Adding 2 - 3 drops of peppermint essential oil to the main oil can help improve its taste. It helps alleviate gagging during oil pulling.
Limonene Oil
Adding a quarter teaspoon of limonene oil to an 8-ounce bottle of sesame or sunflower seed oil can offer better results. Limonene oil, extracted from citrus fruits, has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes easy passing of the oil mixture through the gum pockets.
Thieves Oil
This is an excellent blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils. It is known for its cleansing abilities. It enhances the function of the immune system and helps fight all types of infections. Also, when diffused in the home/office, it helps kill 99% of airborne bacteria within a few minutes.
Oregano Oil
Oregano oil, distilled from the leaves and flowers of the oregano plant, is considered as nature's most powerful antibiotic. It helps get rid of the symptoms of flu, sore throat, swollen glands, etc.
Myrrh Oil
This oil that is extracted from the resin is a very powerful antioxidant.
It exhibits antimicrobial, astringent, expectorant, antifungal, stimulant, carminative, stomachic, anticatarrhal (removes excess mucus from the body and lowers inflammation of the mucous membranes), diaphoretic (induces perspiration), vulnerary (useful in healing wounds), antiseptic, immune booster, circulatory, tonic, and antispasmodic properties.
Lemon Oil
By improving the taste and flavor of the base oil, it helps alleviate gagging during oil pulling, and cleanses the mouth. It acts as an antiseptic and detoxifying agent. It helps lessen the symptoms of common cold and sore throat.
Lemongrass Oil
This oil helps eliminate bad breath. It exhibits antifungal properties and helps combat infections. It acts as a lymphatic system detox. It helps relieve cough and nasal congestion.

Frankincense Oil
This oil works as a painkiller and helps alleviate toothaches. It carries several other medicinal properties too.
Geranium Oil
This has a rose-like scent, and helps eliminate bad breath. It helps relieve stress and depression. It improves dental health by reducing inflammation and irritation.

Clove Oil
As a natural analgesic and antiseptic, clove oil helps get rid of infection and toothache. It lowers inflammation too.

Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

✦ Oil pulling helps boost oral health by reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth. This helps prevent cavity formation.
✦ It can reduce plaque and gingivitis. The bacteria present in plaque leads to the swelling of the gums. This condition is known as gingivitis. As the oil pulling process helps kill the bacteria in the mouth, it reduces the chances of developing gingivitis. Thus, it helps maintain oral health.
✦ Bacteria in the mouth release some chemicals and gases which cause bad breath. This condition is known as halitosis. Oil pulling reduces the chances of developing halitosis. It acts like an effective mouthwash.
✦ Apart from whiter teeth and strong gums, oil pulling benefits also include improved overall health. It has been noticed that the oil pulling technique helps alleviate headaches, hangovers, and skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
✦ It helps get rid of the toxins from both the mouth and the body. It reduces toothaches and jaw pain.
✦ It reduces the chances of having sinusitis and insomnia.
✦ It slows down the aging process.
✦ It helps lower the symptoms of various diseases and disorders.
The simple procedure of oil pulling can improve your oral and overall health in various ways. It has no downside, as long as a good-quality oil is used. Moreover, it is a very inexpensive therapy. Even though the exact mechanism of action of oil pulling therapy is still not clear, it is widely accepted that it acts like an alternative medicine or home remedy for various diseases and disorders.