You may have heard of oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic practice that is gaining popularlity in the western world. It can be a powerful tool to improve oral health, especially when combined with the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil. Because coconut oil is high in lauric acid, it fights a wide range of pathogens, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa. Simultaneously, it promotes the homeostasis of the oral microbiome, ensuring you don’t kill the good microbes.
It is believed that oil pulling improves your oral and physical health by lowering the toxic load on your body. When you swish and “pull” the oil between your teeth, it draws out pathogens that could otherwise travel to other parts of your body. It cleans, detoxifies and heals your body.
Dr. Bruce Fife is a naturopathic physican and an expert on coconut oil. He compares the benefits of oil pulling to change the oil in your automobile:
It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean.
Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer.
Sesame oil is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, but it is quite high in omega-6 oils and is subject to oxidation and becoming rancid. Most modern natural health experts believe coconut oil is a much better option. Coconut oil also tastes better. It has a lipophilic effect, which helps eliminate the unhealthy biofilm from your teeth. It is particularly effective against Streptococcus mutans, the oral bacterium that causes most tooth decay. Finally, coconut oil is rich in nutrients that support your oral health.
Getting started is simpole. Simply rinse your mouth with one tablespoon of coconut oil in the same way you would use mouthwash. Move the oil around in your mouth, pushing, pulling and drawing it through your teeth for approximately 15 minutes. This helps dislodge and neutralize pathogens and other debris.
Don’t swallow the oil. Spit it out into the trash or outside, so you don’t clog the drains in your house. Then rinse your mouth with water. Some people dissolve a pinch of Himalayan salt the rinse water, as that salt contains more than 85 different microminerals.