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If the idea of swishing liquid oil around your mouth first thing in the morning grosses you out, you’re probably not alone. However, like lemon-water or cleansing your face, Oil Pulling is something you might really want to consider adding to your daily wellbeing routine. We all know that beauty trends pass through in interesting shapes and forms, many of which we’re more than happy to leave to the beauty vloggers. But Oil Pulling, like dry body brushing, is actually an age-old practice that we’ve only recently recycled back into general use. What exactly is oil pulling?

Also known as ‘Kavala Graha’ or Gandusha’, Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that can be traced back to India 3000-5000 years ago.

Since there were no toothbrushes and no dental clinics, Oil Pulling, along with chewing on sticks and herbs, was the technique was used to detoxify the whole body and support the immune system via the mouth. If you’re not familiar, the actual practice itself involves swilling plants oil around the mouth for a prolonged period of time to ‘pull’ or draw out toxins and bacteria that are said to accumulate on the tongue and in the grooves between teeth and gums. Oil pulling can also have a positive dental effect and it’s been shown to improve the environment of the mouth by reducing plaque, eliminating bad breath, preventing cavities, strengthening gums and whitening teeth naturally

The types of plant oils most commonly used for Oil Pulling are coconut, sesame, olive and sunflower; these being the most palatable and each having their own beneficial effects.

It has been documented that sesame oil is as successful at treating halitosis as Chlorhexidine, a strong antiseptic used in oral health. When choosing a plant oil, it’s important to select good quality and organic if possible. Coconut oil is the most widely used oil for Oil Pulling, due to its reigning popularity and availability and known antibacterial and antifungal properties. Natural skincare brands have recently jumped on the bandwagon to offer Oil Pulling formulations; The Black Chicken Oral Swishing Oil is a detoxifying and ph-balancing formula with the benefits of activated whitening charcoal, Organic Sesame seed, Coconut, Peppermint and Myrrh oils. As pre-packaged option it also has the advantage of being contained and transportable for travel.

If you can make peace with the process and get past the feeling of swishing something slimy around your mouth, the benefits of Oil Pulling are many.

The recommendation is to oil pull first thing in the morning, before you’ve had anything to eat or drink. Begin with a 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen oil and swish it around your mouth for 15-20 minutes, biding that no-one asks you a question during this time. Spit out into the sink at the end. And repeat 3-5 times / week. The benefits will be noticeable within the first week; you might observe a change in your mouth environment, a feeling of cleanness and fresher breath. If you continue to practice throughout the month you will start to notice a positive effect on your teeth and gums too. Are you tempted?

Words | Sophie Parslow


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