Yoga combined with Ayurveda can help rejuvenate and purify our body and mind. Yoga and Ayurveda have emphasized on the importance of holistic wellbeing. Holistic wellbeing begins from the mouth since the mouth is the starting point for digestion. The cycle of digestion of food begins here and it becomes extremely important to cleanse it regularly. In the Ayurvedic textbooks written by Charaka and Sushrutha (Charaka Samahitha and Sushruta Samhitha), there is a procedure mentioned in which an individual takes a comfortable amount of oil and hold/swish it in the mouth. After some time, when the oil turns thin and milky, it is spit out without swallowing. Ayurvedic texts call this procedure as: ‘Kavala Graha’ or ‘Gandoosha’. Dr. F. Karach popularized this procedure as ‘Oil Pulling’. Oil Pulling is an ancient, traditional remedy that has been practiced for centuries in India and southern Asia as a holistic Ayurvedic technique1.
Why is Oil Pulling a healthy practice?
In traditional Ayurveda, gargling treatments are used to treat imbalances of various ‘doshas’ (problems) and it is believed that the dominant dosha in both the individual and nature determines health care, including dental health. Oral cavity has billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites living in our mouth. There are over 600 species of bacteria alone that make our mouths their home. Many of these bacteria produce toxins, which damage the teeth and irritate the gums causing inflammation and bleeding. An overgrowth of these bacteria leads to tooth decay and gum disease, and eventually tooth loss.
Benefits of Practicing Oil Pulling:
In oil pulling, as the oil is swished in the mouth, the mechanical shear forces are exerted on the oil leading to its emulsification and the surface area of the oil will be greatly increased. The oil film formed on the surface of the teeth and the gingiva can reduce plaque adhesion and bacterial co-aggregation.
Practitioners of oil pulling claim that it is capable of improving oral and systemic health including a benefit in conditions such as:
Whitening the teeth
Its promoters claim it works by “pulling out” toxins, which are known as ‘ama’ in Ayurvedic medicine, and thereby reducing inflammation.
Start Practicing today:
Oil Pulling is best done first thing in the morning before eating your breakfast. After eating, brush your teeth normally. On the eve of this World Yoga day, you can add the practice of ‘Oil pulling’ to your daily regimen for a healthier mouth.