Published on New York Spirit
I am one of those people who is scared to death at the thought of visiting the dentist. Everything from waiting in anticipation for my turn to the footsteps towards that evil gigantic chair gives me anxiety attacks. The buzzing tools getting closer to my teeth send shivers down my spine. The teeth being prodded and poked are one hell of an experience. To top it all, my previous dentist was rude! During my last visit to him, he told me to behave myself. Well, not entirely his fault. His patients-mostly kids– in the waiting room began to wail as my screams were reaching a high decibel level. In my defense, he was supposed to alleviate the pain, not trigger it!
A few months earlier, I felt sensitivity in my teeth. Any kind of sweet food, even my favorite dates, started giving me shooting pains in the gums and teeth. My nightmare of visiting a dentist began. The tools were flying all over me in my dreams. Avoiding eating sweets was just a short-term solution. I dreaded that the condition might worsen. Then, I remembered, reading about oil pulling somewhere. I sat on a Sunday afternoon to do the thesis on oil pulling.
Kavala and Gandusha
The original practices mentioned in Ayurveda (Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana) are Kavala and Gandusha. Taking the suggested liquids inside the mouth and holding for few minutes before spitting it out is Gandusha. Taking the liquid into the mouth and squishing it around for specific time period is Kavala. Ayurveda recommends different oils, herbs and other liquids based on one’s body constitution (Pitta, Vata, Kapha) and is more elaborate than the modern day oil pulling practice popularized by Dr. Fedor Karach. However, the basic concept remains the same.
Take a tablespoon of oil; swish it for fifteen minutes and spit it out. Dr. Karach says to sip, suck and pull through teeth. It draws out toxins from your mouth and improves your oral health. Apart from giving you healthy gums, whitened teeth, plaque reduction, it has claimed to cure about 30 diseases ranging from a headache, migraine to diabetes and asthma.
A preliminary study published in The National Center for Biotechnology Information journal concluded that oil pulling using coconut oil could be an effective adjuvant procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis.
Let me take you through my journey of oil pulling.
Things to keep in mind before beginning the procedure
Get organic coconut oil. Mustard oil or sesame oil too can be used.
You should be on an empty stomach. If you cannot do it first thing in the morning, do it at a time when you haven’t eaten for at least 2-3 hours.
Melt the coconut oil. Please check the temperature of oil before having a mouthful.
First Three days
I took organic virgin coconut oil. Melted one spoonful. Took it. It felt awful. Oil is supposed to feel weird and unpleasant in the mouth. Even so, I remembered my pain and began squishing it around slowly. Three minutes max and I couldn’t hold it anymore. I spat it out. For three days, it made me feel like throwing up even while spitting it out.
Fourth day onwards
I was getting used to the taste. You can keep the quantity according to your ease, whatever ensure smooth rinsing. I began swishing slowly, paused in between and then did intense swishing before spitting it out. Post that, I rinsed my mouth with salted warm water. It helps to take away all the oiliness and the left out toxins. I was still avoiding any sugary food.
After two weeks
I got used to the procedure in two weeks. No more weird taste. No more barfing feeling. The days I could not do it in the morning, I did it while I was preparing for the dinner. I kept myself busy in chopping and cutting veggies and grooving to the songs. That helped me not to lose patience while waiting for the timer to buzz.
After four weeks
Oil pulling, by now, became a daily habit. I tried eating a cookie which used to make me jump with pain before. This time, nothing happened. No pain. No sensitivity. I was surprised that it worked so soon. I thought it would take at least 3-4 months to show any kind of results, if at all.
Things to keep in mind after oil pulling procedure
Rinse your mouth with salted warm water.
Spit coconut oil in the dustbin, not in the sink. It can clog your drain.
A word of caution
It is not a replacement for brushing your teeth or not visiting your dentist in case of a serious issue. It can be a replacement for your mouthwash. It is a healthy practice and you should include it in your daily oral hygiene regime. My sensitivity was at a beginning stage, that’s the reason that it rooted out quickly. Nevertheless, the benefits are multifold with no side-effects. Many people have documented their amazing experiences with oil pulling ranging from plaque removal to even cavity healing.
Ayurveda is one of the best health-care systems devised by the sages. The only way it does not suit you is when you are not doing it the right way.