Old but Gold: Oil Pulling for Oral Hygiene

Most of our mornings begin with a good few minutes brushing our teeth. Some of us also follow this up with a swirl of mouth freshener. But if you went back by a few centuries, an essential part of maintaining oral hygiene was the use of coconut oil! The process, known as ‘oil-pulling’ is a proven way to keep tooth decay at bay, whiten your teeth and keep your breath fresher for longer.

Coconut oil is an extremely unique commodity. That’s because it is the richest source of lauric acid known to man, almost 50%. The body converts lauric acid present in coconut oil into a compound called monolaurin. Monolaurin is known to kill harmful bacteria, fungi as well as viruses. These bacteria and fungi, present in the mouth can cause rapid decay, bad breath and yellowing of teeth. According to studies, coconut oil is extremely effective in destroying streptococcus mutan, a notorious oral bacteria known for tooth decay.

When dental plaque accumulates in the mouth, it leads to a gum disease called gingivitis. Gingivitis causes the inflammation of gums, which can be extremely painful. Coconut oil is known to decrease plaque buildup in the mouth by about 60% thus decreasing the possibility of gingivitis by a significant amount.

Most mouth fresheners today contain chlorhexidine, which reduces the harmful bacteria in the mouth that can exacerbate tooth decay. Turns out, coconut oil is just as effective, if not more, in reducing these bacteria, thus preventing tooth loss and decay.

Before we delve into the process of oil pulling, it is important to only use cold-pressed, organic coconut oil for this practice.

Oil pulling involves swishing a generous amount of coconut oil in your mouth for about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to push and pull the oil in between your teeth. Then spit it out in your toilet or in the trash as it can clog your sink. Then brush your teeth as you normally would and reap the benefits of oil pulling!

You can also make coconut oil toothpaste to include in your morning routine. Simply mix half a cup of coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and add a generous amount of your preferred essential oil. Mix all the ingredients together and when it forms a paste-like consistency, store in a sealed container. To use this toothpaste, simple scoop up a small amount onto your toothbrush and brush for 2-3 minutes.

The ancient Indians extracted the most out of coconut oil. Oil pulling is not only a fantastic way to maintain oral hygiene; it is also a completely natural alternative to mouthwash. There are many such secrets hidden in the depth of India’s history. All we need to do is look!


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