Monday, June 09, 2014

Oil pulling revisited after five years and a lot of sesame oil!

While I don't remember where I came upon this Ayurvedic practice, I do know what I found immediately appealing about it.  Whiter teeth without a bleach tray, less plaque without scraping.  I have no way of knowing what the state of my oral health would be had I not swished and spit a tablespoonful of sesame oil more mornings than not for more than five years, but I am entirely satisfied with my current dental status and teeth so sparkly--despite daily coffee and green tea--that my dental hygienist asked me at my last visit what my secret was.

I took another pass through the medical literature on oil pulling recently, and discovered new information on how this pulling business works.  Given a busy life and hectic mornings, it's hard to carve out 15-20 minutes for an oral work-out around a mouthful of oil. As a result, I did the multi-tasking thing that we all do, making coffee and breakfast, packing lunch, reading a book or the paper, often holding that mouthful of oil with just an occasional swish.  Turns out, however, the magic is in the agitation.

Scientists conducted trials wherein they sampled the oil from the mouths of willing subjects at various intervals during the pulling process.  Heaven only knows how they did this without sending sesame oil and spit down the volunteers' chins.  Early samples revealed big globules of oil in saliva while later specimens showed that the washing machine action of hard-working jaws had broken the oil into tiny droplets upon which bacteria and old dead mouth cells clung. This did not occur until 15 minutes or more into the activity. Thus, indifferent, distracted oil pulling while dashing around the kitchen for 10 minutes just doesn't get your mouth that soap-like cleansing effect. Give it your all for 15 minutes, spit the thin, milky stuff out, rinse, and SMILE!

For more on oil-pulling, see Bacteria, bad breath, and oil pulling and Oil pulling testimonial

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