The ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling dates back 3,000 years and was initially used in India to improve oral health.

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, based on the belief that health and wellness is achieved when mind, body and spirit are in balance. Their other oral health practices previously included chewing sticks and eating a healthy herb-based diet, as toothbrushes only came into use in the United States in the late 1930’s. Dr F Karach first brought oil pulling to America in the early 1990s, when he started suggesting the practice to his patients.

The method is safe, extremely simple and cost effective. All you need is a tablespoon of plant-based oil, which you gently swish around your mouth for 20mins. The oil will naturally thicken when mixed with your saliva, so you may need to adjust the amount of oil used and time spent as you get used to doing it. You then spit it out into the trash (as it can thicken and block your pipes if disposed of in the sink) and rinse your mouth with warm or salt water. Remember not to swallow the oil, as it will now contain all the bacteria, toxins and pus you are trying to flush out of your system. Your normal routine of brushing and flossing should follow, as oil pulling works in conjunction with brushing, like mouthwash. It is best done before drinking and eating and the more severe your dental problems are, the more often you should do it.

Oil pulling, also known as Kavala Graha or Gandusha, also naturally cleanses your palate, as the oil attaches itself to bacteria and removes it. This leaves a clean, antiseptic environment for your saliva to flow freely and prevent any cavities or diseases from occurring. As bacteria and infection can enter your blood through your mouth, improving your oral health can have a knock on effect to all areas of your body. The practice is thought to both cure and prevent over 30 diseases. Its benefits include: teeth whitening, improved breath and gum health, plaque removal, tooth sensitivity reduction, boosts your immune system and soothes cracked lips and dry throats. Using coconut oil in particular is also great for preventing tooth decay, improving digestion, lowering cholesterol, boosting skin vitality and your general energy, among other perks. You should notice positive changes within a week of trying it.

If coconut oil is not for you, you could also use olive, palm, sesame or sunflower oil, but ensure that you’re not allergic to it and that the oil is organic. You should also avoid oils high in omega 6 or chemically created oils like vegetable, canola, soybean and corn oil. To enhance the process of oil pulling, you can also eat a healthier diet and add essential oils, vitamin E oil or brushing blend to the mix. Oil pulling has been tried and tested by believers for centuries and experts agree that the method is safe, but there is little scientific proof into its effectiveness. Some people may experience a detox reaction at first including mild congestion, headaches, upset stomach and mucous drainage, but this is very unlikely. Gwyneth Paltrow has given oil pulling her co-sign, now it’s your turn to try it.

Good luck!

-Megan Saad

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