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Swish it right - Oil pulling the Ayurvedic way!

If there is a new health craze around these days, oil pulling makes the top five list. Though, oil pulling is a new practice in the western world. This age-old practice has its roots in Ayurveda.

If you haven't tried this daily ritual yet, you are surely missing out on the benefits of this great practice. As a daily self-care practice, it helps to strengthen and cleanse our oral cavity. As a therapy, part of the treatment protocol for managing diseases related to the neck, throat, and oral cavity.

As the name suggests, it is a ritual where a certain amount of liquid is taken inside the mouth and moved in a circular motion. Ayurveda describes two types of therapies under the same context,

Gandusha (withholding oil) – Holding liquid in mouth for a certain period without moving to and fro.

Kavala(mouth gargles) – Swishing the sesame oil in the mouth

In the west, coconut oil is the popularly used one for this. Traditionally, sesame oil is the recommended type of oil for this practice. I don't recommend using coconut oil every day (that's a separate post for another day)

Based upon the different actions on our body, divided into four different types:

1). Snehana/ Lubricating – For balancing Vata disorders and in case of dryness. Medicinal oils with sweet, sour, and salty taste utilized in this type.

2). Shamana/Palliative – For balancing Pitta disorders, the decoction of the herbs possessing taste; Sweet, bitter & astringent used.

3). Shodana/Purifying – For balancing Kapha disorders, the decoction of the herbs possessing taste; bitter, pungent & astringent used.

4).Ropana/Healing – Decoctions of drugs having Bitter and astringent taste and cold potency. Indicated in healing and

In the above four types, a paste of drugs according to disease or cause of disease; should be processed with any of the following substances and can be used as mouth gargles when it is comfortable to hold.

*Ghee & sesame oil.

*Honey + Water

*Fermented gruel


*Mutton soup

For day to day practice,

Sesame oil – Strengthens the oral cavity, removes odor, and prevents dental caries.

Meat soup – Strengthening and nourishing the oral cavity.

Ghee and milk – Indicated for ulcers and burning sensation.

Honey – Heals the ulcers, relieves the thirst and burning sensation.

Fermented grain milk – Removes odor and dirt from the mouth.

Warm water – Brings lightness and cleansing of the mouth.

Steps for effective practice of oil pulling :

Practice after brushing your teeth and after the eye and nasal care. Sit in a chair in a well-ventilated room with good sunlight. Ideally, a gentle massage and fomentation are advised before the procedure.

1) Oil pulling (Gandusha) – Holding liquid in mouth for a certain period without moving to and fro. It is retained inside the mouth till the Phlegm and frothy Kapha appear or till the eyes and nose start secreting watery discharge. It can take up to 15 - 20 minutes on average.

2) Mouth gargles (Kavala) – Swishing oil or medicated liquid inside the mouth. Compared to Oil pulling, it requires less quantity. The oil is being swished from left to right or from right to left. Oil is swished gently without any force.

Remember to rinse your mouth with warm water for few seconds to get rid of the oily sensation. This procedure can be performed daily as a part of a healthy regimen.

1). The primary benefit of oil pulling is to improve oral hygiene. Practicing this procedure every day can help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It can even resolve gingivitis.

2). It can prevent conditions like Halitosis or bad breath. It acts as a mouthwash and kills odor-causing bacteria.

3).Oral thrush – Swishing the oil in your mouth can kill the candida and help treat the oral thrush.

4). It can remove the stains from teeth and thus acts as a natural way of whitening teeth.

5). Swishing oil in the mouth removes all toxins present in your mouth, especially from the tongue.

Q & A

*Should I practice oil pulling first and then brush or vice-versa?

Ayurveda recommends brushing first before doing any other practices. Logically it makes sense to wash your oral cavity by brushing and tongue scraping before doing oil pulling.

* Can we skip brushing?

It is not a replacement for brushing. It is practiced, along with your dental hygiene routine.

* Can I use any oil of my interest?

In general, sesame oil is the best one per Ayurveda for every day.

* Do you recommend this to children?

Children above the age of 5 can also practice this procedure daily.

*Does this practice loosen my gums?

Oil pulling doesn't loosen the dental fillings. It strengthens your Gum.

*Is this good for people suffering from sinus problems?

Many studies have revealed that this procedure can Improve sinus health.

*Does this help to improve decay?

If you already have decay, then oil pulling cannot reverse the condition, but it can prevent further damage.


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