According to statistics, dental sensitivity affects one out of every three adults in India, or 34% of the population. Despite this, only approximately 1 in 5 people take action to address the problem.
The mouth is considered as the mirror of the general health of the human body. Hundreds of billions of microorganisms reside in the oral cavity, many of which contribute to the development or progression of systemic disorders such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and others. Oral and general health are intertwined. Thus, good dental hygiene is essential. Oil-pulling is believed to promote oral health. The benefits of oil pulling for oral hygiene are mentioned further down.
Oil pulling, mentioned as “Kavala” or “gundusha” in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, is an Ancient Indian dental practice that entails swishing a spoonful of coconut oil or sesame oil in the mouth for 20 minutes on an empty stomach for oral and overall health benefits.
For many decades, oil pulling has been used as a traditional Indian cure to prevent tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, dry throat, chapped lips and to help strengthen teeth, gums, and the jaw. When used routinely and as instructed, it is claimed to cure around 30 systemic ailments, like headaches, migraines, diabetes, and asthma.
PROCEDURE OF OIL-PULLING
A tablespoon of oil is swished in the mouth for 20 minutes every morning on an empty stomach in oil pulling. A teaspoon of oil is enough for children over the age of 5. It is not advisable for kids under the age of five. By swishing the oil in the mouth, it is ‘pulled’ and squeezed in between all of the teeth. When done correctly, the thick oil will turn milky white and thin. The oil should be spat out, next the mouth must be thoroughly rinsed with warm saline water or drinking water, and the teeth should be brushed with a regular dental brush. In case the jaw hurts, one can do the treatment for 5–10 minutes.
Because oil can clog pipes, it should not be spit into the sink. Instead, spit the oil into the dustbin or on a paper towel.
Oils such as sunflower, coconut or sesame oil can be used for oil pulling. For its nutritional qualities and positive health impacts, the sesame plant, Sesamum indicum, of the Pedaliaceae genus, is viewed as a gift from nature to humankind.
It’s crucial not to swallow the oil as it carries bacteria and toxins. Oil pulling is best done while sitting with your chin raised. To speed up the healing process, do it three times a day on an empty stomach before meals. When undertaking vigorous oil pulling, one should not aspirate the oil. Oil pulling can be fruitfully utilized to maintain oral hygiene in cases of oral ulcers, fever, vomiting tendency, asthma, and other situations that make brushing difficult.
BENEFITS OF OIL-PULLING
Surgery or medication for a variety of chronic ailments could be avoided using this method. Oil treatment is both preventative and curative. The simplicity of this therapeutic procedure is one of its best attributes.
According to Ayurveda, the tongue is connected to the kidneys, heart, lungs, small intestine, stomach, colon, spine, and other organs. Oil-pulling is believed to aid in the removal of harmful heavy metals from the body through saliva. It stimulates salivary enzymes, which take toxins from the blood, such as chemical, bacterial, and environmental toxins, and expel them through the tongue. In a nutshell, oil pulling cleanses and detoxifies the entire human body.
Organic oils like sunflower oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil are beneficial, especially if they are cold-pressed, while refined oil can also help to “pull” germs, viruses, and protozoa out of the mouth. Because trans fats are nonexistent in cold-pressed oils compared to commercial oils, cold-pressed oils are perfect for oil pulling. Sesame oil is often regarded as the best oil for oil pulling. Sesame oil and sunflower oil have been shown to help reduce plaque-induced gingivitis. Chlorosesamone, found in sesame roots, has antifungal properties. Sesame oil’s polyunsaturated fatty acids also help prevent free radical damage in the mouth.
Oil pulling produces antioxidants, which attack and kill bacteria by eroding their cell walls. These oils attract the lipid layer of bacterial cell membranes, causing them to cling to the oil and be drawn to it. The oil is emulsified and the surface area of the oil is expanded during oil pulling. After 5 minutes of oil pulling, the emulsification process begins. This oil coats the teeth and gums, preventing plaque formation and bacterial co-aggregation. Plaque-forming bacteria responsible for dental cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and foul breath are therefore eliminated from the mouth.
Gums become pinker and healthier as a result of enhanced oral hygiene; bleeding gums are no longer a concern; teeth become whiter; breath becomes fresher, and oral cavity muscles and jaws develop stronger. It also helps with sore throats, dry skin, blurred eyesight, loss of taste, and anorexia.
A study was carried out to investigate- the efficacy of sesame oil-pulling on plaque-induced gingivitis and to compare it to the effectiveness of chlorhexidine mouthwash. For this study, a total of 20 plaque-induced gingivitis-affected teenagers were divided into two groups: 10 in the oil pulling group (Group I) and 10 in the chlorhexidine group (Group II) (Group II). The 20 subjects’ plaque index and revised gingival index scores were recorded, as well as baseline plaque samples.
In both the study and control groups, the pre-and post-values of the plaque and modified gingival index scores were statistically significant (p < 0.001 in both). In the plaque of teenagers with plaque-induced gingivitis, oil pulling therapy reduced the plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic bacteria.