Oil pulling and how it can help optimize gut health
Our mouth is home to BILLIONS of microorganisms and some of them may contribute to the development of chronic illness such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There’s a fine balance between the good microbes and the bad, and a lot of it depends on our food and oral hygiene.
Best food choices? Real, whole foods.
Best hygiene practices? Brushing and flossing after meals.
Something extra that can be added? Oil pulling.
In Ayurveda medicine, the tongue is connected to various organs (kidneys, heart, small intestine, lungs, etc). It is believed that oil pulling activates salivary enzymes that absorb toxins from the blood and are removed from the body through the tongue. Think chemical, bacterial, and environmental toxins.
Studies have shown oil pulling benefits to include:
– decreases in plaque index scores, gingival index scores, and total colony counts of aerobic bacteria after 7-14 days of use
– significant 50% decrease after 30 days of use
– improvements in halitosis (bad breath)
The biggest benefit?
Results were comparable to chlorhexidine oral rinse WITHOUT any of the side effects (common side effect of chlorhexidine is yellowing/browning of teeth). Score!
Mechanisms behind the results?
Oil pulling generates antioxidants which damage the cell wall of harmful microorganisms. Oils also attract the lipid layer of bacterial cell membranes, drawing out pathogens like a magnet.
Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties. It contains monolaurin and lauric acid, which has activity against Streptococcus mutans, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida spp., Helicobacter pylori, Escherichia vulneris, and Enterobacter spp.
Oil pulling guide:
1) Use 1 tablespoon of oil upon waking on an empty stomach
2) Swish around for 5-20 minutes and do not swallow
3) Spit out oil into a trashcan
4) Rinse with warm salt water
5) Brush teeth to remove any remaining oil
Oils to consider:
– cold pressed
– sesame oil
– coconut oil
– olive oil
H E A L T H Y H A B I T S
Gut health is a reflection of our overall health and it all starts in the mouth. Brushing and flossing after meals is recommended, at least twice a day.
Oil pulling may be a great option to add to the routine to help prevent cavity formation, gingivitis, oral candidiasis, and periodontitis. It may also improve dry mouth and chapped lips. My favorites are that it can naturally whiten teeth 😁 and freshens breath.
As a reminder, this is not medical advice. Please consult with your provider before making any changes.