What if we told you that there was a simple practice you could do daily, that would treat acne, allergies, bad breath, chronic pain, digestive issues, cavities and asthma? What if we told you it was ultra affordable and that it only takes 20 minutes? If any of this sounds familiar to you, you’ve probably come across oil pulling – the latest health trend to do its rounds on the internet.
This practice dates back to ancient times and is believed to have originated in India around 3000 years ago. The process is simple: take more or less a tablespoon amount of your favourite cooking oil (coconut, sunflower, vegetable, or olive) and swish it around your mouth and throat for twenty minutes before spitting it out.
The idea behind it is to “pull” harmful bacteria from your mouth, and as a result, limit (or possibly eliminate) health problems caused by bacteria and germs. But how does the oil actually do this? The problem is that not everyone agrees on whether or not it does.
We can all agree that we harvest a lot of bacteria in our mouths, and we know that bacteria have an outer layer consisting of fatty membranes. The principle behind oil pulling is that lipids love lipids, and the oil you swish around in your mouth “pulls” or attracts the oil from the bacteria, removing it from your teeth and gums. After about 20 minutes the oil mixture will become white in colour, which is believed to be the result of the bacteria that has mixed with the cooking oil.
Some medical professionals believe that the bacteria in our mouth can quite easily enter our bloodstream, and thus cause a host of issues in our bodies, of which heart disease is the most prominent. Removing it from our mouths before it has the chance to spread is thus the ideal thing to do. But how effective is it really?
Doctors and dentists seem to be divided on the subject. Though many studies regarding the health benefits of oil have been done, there aren’t any conclusive medical studies on oil pulling. Until those have been conducted, it’s up to each person to decide what they want to believe.
If you’re keen to give it a go, do it – there aren’t any health risks or dangers, so you won’t be causing your body any harm.
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