Oil pulling for oral (and overall) health! - Lucy Barrett

Many diseases are linked or associated with our dental health. We all know how important it is to brush our teeth, avoid refined sugars and get regular dental check ups. But have you heard about the ancient technique of oil pulling and tongue scraping? Our oral health is something we can easily support in our daily routine and the overall health benefits are amazing.

How is our mouth linked to our overall health?

Our teeth and oral health is inextricably linked to other body systems, particularly the heart and cardiovascular system. Mostly, this is due to bacteria. Bacteria and germs in the mouth can spread through the blood stream and affect the heart muscle and cause havoc for blocked or inflamed arteries. Sometimes oral health symptoms are negligible – simply having persistent bad breath can be a sign of infection or damaging bacterial overgrowth.

Coconut oil pulling in particular can help with candida overgrowth (yeast infection of the mouth and gut), mouth ulcers, bad breath and mild infections.

The Ancient Art of Oil Pulling and Tongue Scraping

The art of Oil Pulling comes from the ancient Ayurvedic practices. It involves swishing oil (usually coconut, sesame or sunflower oil) in the mouth for about 10-20 minutes, in the morning before eating. The concept is that the oil draws toxins out of the body. Scientific studies now show that oil pulling can improve the bacterial balance in the mouth, reduces plaque and improves gum health.

Similarly, tongue scraping is a strange but wonderful practice which can dramatically improve your health. In particular, I recommend it for those who are constantly getting knocked down with colds and flu, have a white coated tongue, or are overindulging in diet and drink. Again, Ayurveda explains that over night, toxins rise to the mouth and must be removed before we swallow them down with our morning cuppa or breakfast! Scraping away the layer on the tongue keeps the mouth clean, freshens breath and improves immune health. It can also boost “Agni” (digestive fire) and improve gut health.

Once you start scraping, its hard to stop because you begin to see all the gunk you are swallowing down in the morning!

How to do it

I prefer using organic virgin coconut oil because it is antibacterial and antifungal. Use approximately 1 tablespoon and allow it to melt in the mouth, swishing it around for up to 20 minutes. Keeping a jar in the shower can be a good visual cue and swishing while you wash in the morning. Or keep on the bench and make it a part of your morning stretching routine.

Ensure all oil is spat out and follow up with a good tongue scraping and rinse of the mouth. Tongue scrapers can be found at good health food stores. 

Get it checked out!

Going to the dentist isn’t everyones favourite past-time, but it is incredibly important. A good clean and a check up is vital. In the meantime, start oil pulling and tongue scraping!