In the next article in the series, Ayurvedic Routines: Oil Pulling, we talk about how ayurvedic routines promote overall health. Oil pulling is the process of swishing oil in your mouth to promote oral hygiene and overall health. Using oil to cleanse the mouth reduces bacteria which helps to improve the breath, protect the gums, prevent tooth decay and cavities. It may also whiten the teeth, especially if you use coconut oil. Ayurveda recommends incorporating the practice of oil pulling as a part of a morning routine.
While oil pulling simply involves swishing up to a tablespoon of oil in the mouth, there are ways to personalize the process. Specific oils may be beneficial to each of the three doshas – the Ayurvedic mind-body types. Vata and Kapha individuals are characterized by the coldness in the body, especially at the hands and feet. Therefore, using a warming oil, such as sesame oil, is best. Pitta individuals commonly feel overheated, so using a cooling oil like coconut oil is recommended. If you are unsure of your dosha, you can follow the season and implement sesame oil during fall/winter and coconut oil in spring/summer.
Pull oil in the morning on an empty stomach. If you practice tongue scraping, oil pull after you have done so. Begin by placing a small spoonful of oil in your mouth. If you are using coconut oil, you may need to allow it to soften until it is liquid before proceeding with the following steps. Swish the oil throughout your mouth and then concentrate on specific areas like the back left, back right, and finally on the front top and bottom teeth. You can oil pull for as little as thirty seconds or up to twenty minutes. When finished, avoid washing the oil down the drain or flushing it down the toilet. Instead, it is best to dispose of it in a waste bin. Be sure not to swallow the oil, as it will be full of bacteria. Always complete your oral routine by brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth as usual.
By removing toxins from the mouth, the benefits of oil pulling may extend beyond oral hygiene. While limited scientific data is available on the topic, personal testimonies point to the advantages. Some have found that oil pulling wakes up the body better than a morning cup of coffee. It has a stimulating effect on the metabolic system, which can assist with weight loss. Additionally, many people experience an improvement in their digestive system and skin from oil pulling. This is because gut health is connected to all other systems of the body and cleansing the mouth of bacteria supports the microbiome.
Like all other practices, oil pulling is worth trying, and its effectiveness varies by individual. Some practitioners recommend oil pulling every day to notice a difference, but, like any wellness ritual, “something” is always better than nothing. Practice the Ayurvedic Routines: Oil Pulling – even once-a-week may be enough.