There’s been a lot of talk lately about the health benefits of coconut oil pulling. Practiced in India for thousands of years, oil pulling was promoted heavily by many Ayurvedic health practitioners using sesame seed oil. But many natural health practitioners are now seeing the major benefits of coconut oil as a possible substitute. Besides using it as a natural moisturizer to combat wrinkles and age spots, recent studies indicate that oil pulling can help with bad breath and reduce dental plaque that causes tooth decay by minimizing its main strain of bacteria Streptococcus. Mutans or S. Mutans.
Coconut Oil Pulling Benefits
In other cultures oil pulling has been long used to not only minimize bad breath but to reduce the risk of tooth decay, heal bleeding gums and reduce gum inflammation, all significant symptoms of gingivitis or the early stages of periodontal disease. In 2008, a study aimed to prove that this ancient healing folk remedy might have real scientific evidence to back the claims made by natural and holistic healers the world over.
Using sesame oil, twenty school-age boys were divided randomly into two groups: the control group where the subjects used chlorohexidine a prescription mouth rinse given by dentists to combat gum disease, and the oil pulling group who used sesame oil. Using their given methods for 10 minutes every day, plaque and saliva samples were collected for the analysis of S. Mutans. Both groups experienced a reduction in the bacteria, proving that oil pulling was just as effective as the prescribed mouth rinse.
A second 2009 study was conducted to see if oil pulling was just as effective on plaque-induced gingivitis. As with the 2008 study, researchers found a reduction in both the total colony count of microorganisms and a reduction in the plaque index among all twenty study subjects.
Lastly, a 2010 study showed the effects of oil pulling on halitosis and the bacteria that causes bad breath when compared to the prescribed mouth rinse chlorohexidine. Again, reduction in plaque, and the bacteria associated with halitosis, was cited in all 20 study participants proving that oil pulling was just as effective in curing patients suffering from severe bad breath.
Why Coconut Oil May Be Better than Sesame Oil
Browse the Internet or local store shelves, and you’re bound to come across coconut oil. Pure coconut oil, sold in its solid form, has 84 percent of its calories from saturated fat. But most of its saturated fat is made up of MCT or medium-chain triglycerides, and some health professionals believe our bodies handle it differently from other oils or fatty foods, since it boosts the ‘good’ or HDL cholesterol. Coconut oil has also been proven to diminish the yeast, Candida albicans, responsible for the ailment called oral thrush.
At-Home Coconut Oil Pulling Made Easy
To be sure, oil pulling should never be used as a substitute for your regular, daily dental regimen. Tooth brushing and flossing is still mandatory. But coconut oil pulling in addition to brushing and flossing may give your gums and teeth a much needed health boost.
Experts recommend coconut oil pulling first thing in the morning and before bed, at least 3 to 4 times each week. For easy steps to oil pulling:
1. Swish 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for about 10 to 20 minutes
2. Spit it out, preferably in the trash and not in the sink, and rinse.
3. Rinse again with salt water, and brush your teeth.
Some Tips to Coconut Oil Pulling
• You may experience jaw soreness and have difficulty swishing coconut oil for the full 10 minutes, especially in the beginning, so try it just for 7 to 8 minutes and build from there.
• You don’t have to stick to a morning and evening only ritual, any time is good.
• You may experience a gag reflex. Try heating the oil a bit to thin it out, and lean your head forward just a bit while swishing.
Results are different for everyone. Some people experience fresher breath and a cleaner mouth within the first week, and healthier gums, less bleeding and inflammation within a month.
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