Today is World Oral Health Day!
Did you know that your mouth is one of the most heavily colonised parts of your body hosting around 600+ different bacterial species? Your mouth is the starting point for your digestive tract and the oral microbiome play an important role in the human microbial community and therefore human health.
The interaction of various oral microorganisms help your body protect itself against undesirable pathogens. An imbalance in microbial flora contributes to oral diseases such as dental caries, periodontitis and systemic diseases impacting the gastrointestinal and nervous system, cardiovascular and also the endocrine system.
People with gastrointestinal disease and diabetes mellitus, to name only two, have a higher risk of periodontal disease and other dental problems. This really highlights the importance of whole-body medicine and that oral hygiene is just as important as any other part of your body. Each bodily system works together to conduct a beautifully orchestrated symphony.
Dental hygiene is something that you were taught shortly after your first tooth appeared. Keeping your oral cavity healthy and clean is one of the best ways to prevent oral complications and disease. Sadly, western cultures have never fully adopted the eastern tradition of oil pulling.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayuervedic remedy that has been used for thousands of years for maintaining health. The focus of oil pulling is not just to target oral hygiene, but also used to improve general wellbeing.
Benefits of oil pulling
- Prevent dental caries
- Improve oral hygiene
- Balance the microbial balance in the mouth
- Prevent the adhesions of plaques to teeth and oral surfaces
- Reduce gingivitis
- Reduce halitosis (bad breath)
- Whiten teeth
- Improve general health
How to do Oil Pulling
Take one tablespoon either of sesame or coconut oil and swish the oil around for 15-20 minutes before breakfast on an empty stomach.
For children older than five years (do not use if younger)
One teaspoon of oil is used.
Swish the oil around your mouth. Try and involve a motion of pulling and forcing the oil between the teeth. The focus of this action is to try and remove as many of the bad bacteria from the mouth as possible and to clean your teeth at the same time. You want to work the oil until you have a milky white and thinner oil at the end.
AVOID swallowing the oil as it contains high levels of bacteria and toxins. Instead, spit the oil onto a tissue and throw in the bin. I would advise not to spit the oil down the sink as it may over time lead to a blocked drainpipe.
When should you do your oil pulling?
Oil pulling is best performed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you are on a specific healing journey, then you can always increase this to twice a day. Make sure that your second oil-pulling is on an empty stomach.
Oil pulling is not a replacement for oral hygiene but can be used in conjunction with your standard dental hygiene practice. The benefits are only seen when done regularly.
If 15-minutes is too long for you, then aim for as long as you can. I genuinely believe that 5 minutes is better than nothing.