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What is Ayurvedic Oil Pulling?
Ayurveda—it’s that word no one can pronounce and the health practices everyone wants to try (it’s ai·yr·vei·duh, by the way). Ayurveda has been around for more than 5,000 years, but many of the practices and techniques are still super relevant today. As we continue to become more in tune with the needs of our bodies and turn to natural healing modalities as a result, Ayurveda has become more popular.
One ancient health practice that has become more mainstream in recent years is Ayurvedic oil pulling. Oil has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and there’s a lot of recent evidence to suggest that this is an oral health trend to try.
With the teeth-whitening and whole body-detoxifying benefits of oil pulling, we’ll stick with this type of mouthwash, and leave those chemical-filled ones behind.
What is Ayurveda?
Considered by many to be the oldest healing science, Ayurvedic knowledge originated with the ancient Vedic culture of India. It was taught by accomplished masters to disciples, with some of the knowledge making it into written texts over the years. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda translates to “the wisdom of life” and Ayurveda has influenced other natural healing systems like homeopathy.
The Ayurvedic principles are based on the conscious daily choices that contribute to physical and spiritual healing. There are three ancient Ayurvedic texts that include health practices that are based on prevention of illness, maintenance of health, and balance in one’s life. They incorporate various techniques that include changes to one’s thinking, lifestyle, and diet.
Ancient Ayurvedic Health + Oral Care
So, where does Ayurveda fit into oral care? Practices involving oil are included in the classic Ayurvedic texts, and Indians have used oil for millennia for many things, like pain reduction and even reversing heart disease. The Sanskrit word panchakarma deals with some of these oil practices. The word means “five actions” and includes techniques to rid the body of toxins. When it comes to our mouths, however, ancient Ayurveda has presented the world with gundusha and kavala.
Gundusha is the word used to describe a practice of filling the mouth with oil and holding it. On the other hand, kevala means to fill the mouth with oil and swish it around the mouth so that it moves around the gums, teeth, and tongue. Both are important and beneficial Ayurvedic practices.
Our mouths are full with 600 species of bacteria which are coated in a lipid (fat) membrane. When exposed to the fats in the oil, the bacteria binds and is released from your body when you spit it out. Say buh bye to all those nasties your mouth absorbs through the foods we eat and the environments we live in!
Not only does Ayurvedic oil pulling help to clean the mouth, but it also does so much more.
The buildup of bacteria is one of the main causes of halitosis (bad breath). Just think of all the little hiding places in our mouths—when bacteria start to cause these spots home, things can get a little smelly.
Oil pulling works as effectively as chlorhexidine gluconate (a germicidal mouthwash) to get rid of bacteria. Unlike the latter, however, coconut oil isn’t a scary-sounding chemical, won’t stain teeth, doesn’t leave an after-taste, and won’t produce an allergic reaction that may be life-threatening(!!).
Healthy Teeth and Gums
Bacteria, particularly Streptococcus mutans (S. Mutans), are a huge contributor to tooth decay. Similar to how it freshens breath, oil pulling can help remove these types of bacteria to help support healthy teeth.
These same types of bacteria are also responsible for gingivitis. After oil pulling for just one month, studies have reported significant reductions in the markers of gingivitis. It’s also effective at naturally reducing inflammation. Not only is oil pulling for gums effective, but it’s also soothing, too.
Not to bring up those bad bacteria again, but the bacteria in our mouth can affect our entire body. In fact, oil pulling can help to cure more than thirty systemic diseases if it’s practiced regularly! By ridding our mouths (and bodies) of toxins and dangerous bacteria, oil pulling can help prevent serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, and endocarditis.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that oil pulling can also support healthy sinuses. When bacteria build up in the nasal passage, it can lead to a sinus infection. Keeping our oral cavity clear of harmful bacteria also helps reduce bacteria in the surrounding tissues. This can help prevent infections and can even reduce allergy symptoms, too.
Oil pulling teeth whitening—what’s this all about? As if we even need another reason to swish with oil every morning, whiter teeth are yet another perk. Coconut oil can remove surface stains, making your pearly whites even whiter.
Celebrities Who LOVE Oil Pulling
If you type “oil pulling” into Google, you get over 170 million search results. Needless to say, this practice is popular—and many A-Listers are hopping aboard the oil pulling train. Gwyneth Paltrow, Malin Akerman, and Giselle Bundchen all swear by oil pulling for healthier teeth. Miranda Kerr is a self-proclaimed coconut oil addict. Twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen love this oral care routine and Divergent star, Shailene Woodley even mentioned how amazing oil pulling is on her beauty blog.
How to Oil Pull
There’s a reason oil pulling has been around for so long—it works. That’s why we wanted to combine the natural healing benefits of coconut oil with activated charcoal teeth whitening powers. Add a little peppermint oil for a delicious fresh breath and voila!—our Brilliant Black Oil Pulling mouthwash was born!
Here’s how to use it:
- Shake bottle thoroughly.
- Pour 1 teaspoon into mouth (preferably first thing in the morning).
- Gently swish for 5 to 10 minutes while responding to emails, preparing coffee, or reading the morning news.
- Spit the oil into the trash can (do not swallow, do not spit in sink).
- Brush teeth like you would normally.
When you’re ready to order a new bottle, the ultra-violet pharmaceutical grade glass bottle can be rinsed out and either recycled or used. Glass packaging is not only healthier for you (no BPA), but also better for the planet, too!
What do you think about oil pulling? If you've noticed changes after incorporating it into your routine, let us know in the comments below!