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Missing Morning Ritual: Oil Pulling

Updated: May 4

Oil pulling, also known as gandusha kriya, is a morning ritual recommended in Ayurvedic medicine. It is found in ancient medical texts, such as the Dinacharya, and dates back 3,000 to 5,000 years. Its use is supported by recent medical studies as well for its ability to help clear bacteria and for maintaining and improving oral health. Many studies have provided unambiguous evidence of the strong connection between oral disease and systemic disease. For example, the incidence of periodontal disease is greatest in diabetic patients and patients with heart disease. It is believed that oil pulling can help aid in alleviating over 30 different types of systemic issues such as migraines, headaches, asthma, and diabetes. While there are numerous theories as to how it helps, the exact mechanism of action is unclear and still debated.

The mouth is the starting point of your gastrointestinal tract leading to your stomach and organs, and serves as a focal point of entry for pathogens into systemic circulation. Your mouth hosts over 600 species of bacteria! We love the bacteria that are good for a healthy microbiome, but a good bunch are detrimental to oral health. Oil pulling helps to remove harmful bacteria from the soft tissue, and prevents bleeding gums, tooth decay, bad breath, and hypersensitivity in teeth. In addition, it supports detoxification, and healthy sinus, and may help to prevent cavities. 

Oil pulling is most commonly recommended for the morning on an empty stomach, before brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue. “Pulling” on an empty stomach maximizes the release of enzyme-rich saliva that aids in flushing toxins. 

How To Oil Pull:

  1. Pick an oil; sesame oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, or arimedadi thailam. 

  2. Put one tablespoon of oil in your mouth, and swish it around for 15 minutes. Make sure to get it all around in all the nooks and crannies the same way you would use mouthwash. If 15 min seems a bit too long at first, start with 5 minutes and work your way up. 

  3. Spit it out into the trash, do not swallow. Swallowing should be avoided as it may now be contaminated with toxins or bacteria. Some oils can clog drains so eliminating in the trash prevents this.

  4. Give your mouth a minute or two to acclimate, then rinse your mouth with lukewarm water, and follow with your usual morning oral routine.

  5. Avoid eating anything immediately after oil pulling.

Happy Oil Pulling!

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