Oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic remedy that involves swishing oil around your mouth for 15-20 minutes ideally first thing in the morning or on an empty stomach. It is said to “pull” toxins from the body with the intention of improving oral and overall health. I’ve been using coconut oil as it is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and even though I had tried it sporadically in the past and didn’t notice much difference, this time I’ve stuck with it for almost two weeks and have noticed some very positive changes. My teeth seem to be a bit whiter and my gums and teeth feel a lot stronger. The 15-20 minutes is a long time but it can be done while in the shower, getting dressed etc. which makes it do-able!
A research team from Athlone Institute of Technology tested this old Indian folk remedy in their labs back in 2012. They tested three oils: coconut, olive and vegetable oil, first in their natural state and then treated with enzymes, by way of simulating the digestive process. They tested the oils against Streptococcus bacteria which are commonly found in the mouth and throat. The enzyme treated coconut oil tested positively to inhibiting the growth of most strains of the bacteria as well as a bacterium called Streptococcus mutans, which is a major cause of tooth decay. It seems that our digestive enzymes react with the coconut oil to produce an acidic environment where bacteria find it difficult to thrive.
Furthermore, the anti-fungal properties of the coconut oil were found to attack the yeast which causes thrush so good news for candida sufferers.