Oil Pulling: How to Get Fresher Breath—and Fight Off Toxins, Too
Having sparkly white teeth instantly brightens a smile, promotes a youthful look, and instills confidence in those that have them. Reasons like these help to explain why cosmetic teeth whitening is such a massive industry—a $3.2 billion global industry (as of 2017), to be exact. However, studies have shown that over-the-counter teeth bleaching products can increase gingival irritation and inflammation.
By contrast, the Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling not only freshens the breath and even whitens teeth—it also provides a host of health benefits, including the reduction of plaque and gingivitis and the combating of systemic diseases. All you have to do is gently swish one tablespoon of oil—coconut oil and sesame oil are good options—around all areas of your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes before spitting the oil into a trash can and rinsing your mouth with water.
Ayurvedic practices like oil pulling emphasize the interconnectedness of different parts of our bodies, and the interconnectedness of our bodies with the external world. This idea encourages us to view our oral care in an entirely new light: oral hygiene is not only about the cosmetic beauty of the mouth, but also about the health of the gums, gut, heart, and more. Oil pulling allows us to care for both, leaving one’s mouth feeling—and looking—fresh, while also fighting against the toxins that can cause us harm.