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Oil pulling is one of the oldest folk remedies that are still around today. It is believed that the method can freshen breath and whiten teeth.
So, what is oil pulling? It generally starts with a teaspoon of oil - usually cold pressed sesame or sunflower oil - which is then gargled around the mouth for around 20 minutes. The aim of this is to force the liquid to through the teeth and gums.
After twenty minutes, the oil is then spat out. It is important that you don’t swallow it!
What does the oil do?
Other than leaving a strange taste in your mouth, the oil is supposed to remove all the bacteria, germs and toxins that live between the teeth and around the gums.
The plaque that sticks to our gnashers becomes attached to the liquid, causing it to lose its yellow hue and become a milky colour as it is swished around the mouth.
If you are going to try oil pulling, it is best to do it first thing in the morning before eating breakfast and ahead of brushing your teeth. This means the oil pulling will have the maximum impact.
What are the benefits?
Some people believe oil pulling has a host of benefits, other than freshening and cleansing the mouth. There are some who claim gargling the liquid activates certain enzymes that draw out toxins in the blood.
Other believe that the method can boost the metabolism, fix loose teeth, treat bleeding gums and whiten the teeth. There are some far-fetched claims that it can extend your life span, but this is highly unlikely.
There are hundreds of different bacteria living in the mouth at any given time. Like the rest of the body, some of these are beneficial to us and some are harmful. Plaque combined with saliva can form hard deposits called tartar.
Unfortunately, this compound can’t be removed by simply brushing the teeth. It builds it hard to reach areas, usually between the teeth and gums.
This can lead to conditions such as gingivitis, where the gums become irritable and inflamed. In some cases, this condition can cause the teeth to separate from the gums, allowing other infections to develop.
Once these infections set up shop in the mouth they will not be content in just staying there. They can spread to the bones and tissues surrounding the teeth, which could cause them to completely break down.
Every time you swallow, you send the bacteria living in the mouth down to the rest of the body. If there is an infection this can be spread to the digestive tract and bloodstream.
Oil pulling can supposedly get rid of these harmful bacteria and toxins to stop them getting further into our systems.
This is why it is incredibly important that you take care of your mouth and teeth. If you don’t fancy swilling oil, brush your teeth twice a day, floss and use mouthwash for extra protection.