Oil pulling and mouth cleansing

Perhaps in recent years you have heard about a DIY dental health practice called “oil pulling.” Oil pulling is part of the Ayurveda daily morning routine, for keeping the mouth clean and healthy. Oil pulling helps to strengthen the teeth and gums, and clean out the mouth.

The original oil pulling technique is actually oil holding – “Gandusha”

Oil holding is called “Gandusha” in Sanskrit, and is performed by filling your mouth to the end with lukewarm, cold pressed, organic sesame oil. The mouth is full of oil so you cannot swish it around, but just hold it in. This practice is mostly intended to strengthen your gums and jaws, treat receding gums, relax TMJ tension, treat clicking jaw and TMJ pain, heal cracked lips, sooth throat dryness, andbenefit the voice. All these condition are signs of dryness, erosion and depletion of tissue (Vata excess disorders) which can be alleviated by repeated anointing.

The original mouth cleansing technique – “Kevala”

For people with the disorders described above, oil pulling can be done on its own. For cleaning the mouth cavity and treating conditions of gum inflammation, bleeding gums, tooth decay, cavities and bad breath, a cleansing practice called “Kevala” should precede oil pulling. The cleansing practice “Kevala” is performed by swishing a sip (filling the mouth cavity half way) of lukewarm strained herbal decoction (Triphala decoction), swishing in the mouth around and at all directions for a few seconds or more, then spitting it, and repeat with a new sip, until the herbal decoction is all used up. The normal amount of decoction for use ishalf a cup (100 ml). After cleansing with “Kevala”, oil pulling “Gandusha” may or may not be done, depending ones needs.

How to do it step by step:

  1. After you wake up, wash hands and face
  2. Brush your teeth
  3. Evacuate the bowels
  4. Prepare Tripla decoction by boiling 15 gr of coarsely milled Tripla in 240 ml of water, until half of the water is left. Strain and keep the decoction, let it cool to lukewarm temperature.
  5. Take a sip of the decoction and swish for as long as comfortable, the longer the better. 30-60 sec for each sip is the minimum. Spit and repeat until the decoction is all used up. Skip this practice if not necessary for you.
  6. Prepare about 50-60 ml of lukewarm cold pressed sesame oil (never cold). Fill your mouth up with the oil and hold for as long as possible. 5 minutes Is minimum, and you can go on with it for one hour if it doesn’t bother you. Go on with your day while holding on to the oil. Once you are ready, spit the oil out to the trash and wipe your mouth. You can either rinse the mouth with lukewarm water or not.
  7. When appetite signals enjoy breakfast.

Modern oil pulling technique

The modern practice of oil pulling seems to join both cleansing and replenishing in one act. It is done by swishing around a little bit (1-2 table spoon) of lukewarm sesame oil in your mouth each morning and then spitting it out.Swishing oil works by cleaning the oral cavity in a similar way that soap cleans dirty dishes, and at the same time lubricating the mouth tissues for improving strength and sturdiness.

The time for swishing can vary from just a minute or two up till 20 minutes, depending on what is comfortable and what the reason may be for swishing. If dental health is in good shape, swishing could be relatively shorter, serving as a good preventative. If treating a dental problem, better to swish for longer.

The popular oils used for modern oil pulling are either cold pressed sesame, cold pressed olive or non-refined cold pressed organic coconut oil.Although traditionally in Ayurveda sesame oil is first choice, olive oil is a safe and efficient choice as well.

According modern research, coconut oil pulling is one of the best ways to remove bacteria and promote healthy teeth and gums, and it’s one of the best ways to naturally whiten your teeth as well.

How to do it step by step

  1. You can either oil pull first thing in the morning right after you get out of bed, or after you brush your teeth and drink some warm water.
  2. Gently swish 1–2 tablespoons of oil in your mouth and between your teeth for 2–20 minutes, making sure that you don’t swallow any of the oil. Do this gently so you don’t wear out your jaw and cheeks.
  3. Spit out the oil in the trash. You can rinse your mouth out with warm water if you would like.
  4. repeat oil pulling three to four times per week
  5. Oil pulling can be done while in the shower or while driving to work or while you do work around the house to help pass the time.

Original versus modern, how should I go?

For severe cases of gum inflammation, bleeding gums, tooth decay and cavities; use “Kevala” of Tripla for best results, possibly followed by oil holding. Ask a qualified Ayurveda practitioner for guidance.

For severe cases of receding gums, TMJ click jaw and pain, chronic hoarse voice and dryness, use “Gandusha” full mouth oil holding with sesame oil.

For mild conditions of bleeding/sensitive gum, receding gums, bad breath, and as a preventative practice, use modern oil pulling with coconut oil or sesame oil.


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