In Ayurveda, oil pulling is an important part of dinacharya, or daily self-care practices. Like many other time-tested Ayurvedic practices, contemporary people have become curious about the benefits of this simple health routine. Read on to learn all about Ayurveda oil pulling, how to do it, why to do it, and what the benefits are.
The Reasoning Behind Ayurveda Oil Pulling
Firstly, in a broad sense, Ayurveda teaches that the simple act of caring for something and keeping it clean helps extend its longevity. Therefore, proper eye washing, nasal rinsing, and cleaning of our bodies are hygienic practices that show self-love and help circumvent illness and disease. Ayurveda oil pulling is a practice that nourishes the gums and supports dental health. It is a practice that bolsters overall oral hygiene.
Our mouths are full of bacteria, many necessary and beneficial. However, given that there are between 1,000 and 100,000 bacteria on each tooth in even a clean mouth, it stands to reason that there are a few bad actors among those bacteria! (1). Furthermore, each bacteria microorganism is coated in a thin layer of fat. Oil, another lipid, works by pulling in those fat-coated bacteria. Thus, the bacterial load in the mouth is reduced.
In addition, maintaining good oral hygiene has an effect on more than dental and periodontal health. Your oral microbiome can play a role in the health of your heart, immune system, sinuses, and may even impact pregnancy and delivery (1).
How To Do Oil Pulling
With all the benefits of oil-pulling, why not incorporate Ayurveda oil pulling into your daily oral hygiene routine? It is best to practice oil pulling in the morning on an empty stomach. You can do it after or before brushing your teeth, but some experts suggest brushing and then oil pulling. If you tongue scrape, you can tongue scrape, brush, and then oil pull. This way you will retain the positive effects of oil-pulling (2).
To oil pull, take about one tablespoon of oil into your mouth and gently swish around for anywhere from 1-20 minutes. It is often recommended that you work up to 15-20 minutes of oil pulling. However, some experts say that just a few minutes is plenty of time (2). Be sure to swish the oil all around the inside of your mouth and “pull” between the teeth to sweep up as much harmful bacteria as possible. Spit the oil into the toilet or trash (not down the sink as the oil may clog your pipes).
Which Oil is Best for Ayurveda Oil Pulling?
You have a few different options when it comes to the best oil for oil pulling. Sesame oil is nourishing and balancing for Vata dosha. Some people enjoy coconut oil and tout its function as an antimicrobial. Or, try oil pulling with Ghruta ghee, the most beloved oil in Ayurveda! Known for its nourishing, ojas building properties and ability to balance all three doshas, Ghruta ghee is one of the best oils for Ayurvedic oil pulling.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.
(1) Emery, J. (2014). How dental professionals can respond to ‘oil pulling’ patients. Dentistry IQ. Retrieved from https://www.dentistryiq.com/dental-hygiene/patient-education/article/16359465/how-dental-professionals-can-respond-to-oil-pulling-patients