Welcome back to The Ayurveda Glow Podcast, a place to discuss how the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda can be applied to your modern, everyday life to help you feel vibrant in mind, body and spirit, enjoy optimal health, and glow from the inside out.
I’m your host, Katrina, an Ayurvedic Health Counselor & plant-based nutrition advocate based in Santa Monica, California. Through this podcast, I’ll be sharing with you what I’m learning in the areas of plant-based nutrition, sleep, yoga, meditation and a variety of holistic mind-body approaches to optimal health. I aim to explore each of these areas through the lens of Ayurveda.
In this episode, I want to share an Ayurvedic self-care practice that has become one of the most important rituals in my morning routine. In fact, it’s one of the first things I now do upon waking up.
And that practice is … drumroll … the practice of oil pulling!
What Is Oil Pulling?
Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing coconut oil or sesame oil around in your mouth to pull bacteria and toxins out of the mouth. In Ayurveda, this practice of oil pulling is referred to as Kavala Graha.
The way it works is that the bacteria in your mouth is made of cell membranes that are fat-soluble which means that they literally adhere to the oil you’re swishing around in your mouth and detach from your teeth and gums.
As a result, this practice helps to prevent cavities and disease and is a great way to promote healthy teeth and gums. As a bonus, oil pulling is also considered one of the best ways to naturally whiten your teeth.
Now, whenever I learn of an Ayurvedic practice with reported health benefits, I like to see what modern science may reveal about the practice as well. And, in the case of oil pulling, there are a number of scientific studies that support and confirm its benefits.
One study, for example, shows that oil pulling is as effective as chemical mouthwash in supporting oral health and reducing the bacteria count in plaque and saliva.
Another study shows that oil pulling is as effective as chemical mouthwash in reducing halitosis or bad breath.
And, another study showed that oil pulling with coconut oil helped to reduce plaque associated with the gum disease, gingivitis. I’ll share links to each of these studies in the show notes below.
In my own practice of oil pulling, I’ve noticed that my teeth, gums and mouth feel significantly cleaner after oil pulling. Meanwhile, I’m also paying more attention to the color of my teeth for the next 30 days of this practice. I eat a lot of blueberries and drink tea daily. And until recently, I was enjoying a cold brew coffee regularly – all of which contributed to leaving stains on my teeth.
So, I’m doing this oil pulling practice in the morning and evening and monitoring the color of my teeth as well to see if there’s a noticeable difference. I’m hoping that my teeth become a bit whiter as a result of daily oil pulling. So, stay tuned for a follow-up episode on this soon.
How To Oil Pull:
So, here’s how to oil pull. It’s a pretty straight-forward and simple process.
All you need to do is take a tablespoon of organic coconut oil or sesame oil and swish it in your mouth for about twenty minutes. It’s best if you do this on an empty stomach, before breakfast and before you drink or eat anything. The key to remember is that you don’t want to swallow it. You simply want to hold it in your mouth for 20 minutes which, if you’re using coconut oil, is about the time it takes to develop a milk consistency.
Depending on the temperature, the coconut oil may be solid when you first put it in your mouth but it will melt within about 30 seconds. From there, you simply hold it in your mouth for 20 minutes and allow the bacteria and toxins to do their thing which, again, is to simply attach to the oil.
Then, after 20 minutes, spit out the oil into a bin or trash can. Be sure you don’t spit out the oil into the sink or toilet because at room temperature, the oil will solidify and this could clog your pipes.
Once you spit out the oil, you can clean and rinse your mouth with water and spit that into the sink. I also brush my teeth after I rinse my mouth with water.
And that’s it, it’s really that simple!
The potential benefits of oil pulling is that it can help prevent bleeding gums, reduce gingivitis, help prevent bad breath and may help to naturally whiten your teeth.
A few tips:
The oil attracts the bacteria and toxins in your mouth so you want to swish the oil and hold it in your mouth, not swallow it. For this reason, oil pulling is not for infants or young kids or anyone who may accidentally swallow the oil.
It took me a couple times to get used to holding the oil for 20 minutes in my mouth but I’ve gotten into the habit of doing other things during the oil pulling practice so the time goes by a lot faster.
Finally, it’s important to remember that oil pulling is a supplement to your oral care. You still need to continue brushing and flossing your teeth as well. After you spit out the oil in a bin or trash can, be sure to brush and floss.
Together, these 3 practices – oil pulling, brushing and flossing – will help to support your oral health. And, because oral health is connected to the health of your entire body, you’ll be supporting your overall systemic health in mind and body as well. Within a week most people notice a cleaner mouth and it may take a month to notice healthier gums.
The takeaway is that the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling using coconut oil or sesame oil is a simple, inexpensive way to support your oral health. And we all know, it’s a lot easier to prevent gum disease and plaque than it is to deal with disease and dental decay once it appears.
Okay! So this brings us to the end of this episode.
Thank you for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed this episode on oil pulling as a natural way to improve your oral health, breath, teeth and gums.
For healthy gums, whiter teeth and better breath, try oil pulling each day for a week and see how it goes. Does your mouth feel cleaner? Do you notice your teeth are a bit whiter? Let me know if the comments below.
I’m so excited to share more in future episodes.
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I’d love to connect with you on social as well. You can find me on Instagram and YouTube @katrinaheppler. If you have any topics you’d like me to cover on a future episode, please use the hashtag #theayurvedaglow.
And, if you’d like to learn more about my programs and upcoming workshops, please visit my website at katrinah.com. I’ll drop links in the show notes below.
Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate you so much. Wishing you a beautiful day! : )