Desperate to Avoid a Root Canal Procedure
In my desperation to avoid a painful root canal about six months ago, I asked an Ayurvedic practitioner at the Yantra Foundation in Bangalore for a remedy. He suggested I swish a small amount of gingelly or sunflower oil in my mouth for 20 minutes first thing in the mornings. Within a week, the infection had subsided. In two weeks, I could bite into apples with my front teeth again ( I had weak gums) and my teeth were whiter.
The Charaka Samhita. an Ayurvedic text which dates back to 300 -- 500 CE describes the benefits of oil pulling in Chapter V -78 to 80:
It is beneficial for strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, improving gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One used to this practice never gets dryness of throat, nor do his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never be carious and will be deep rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables.
According to Dr. Deepak Chopra in his book, Perfect Health, Ayurveda suggests oil pulling "to purify the taste-buds and the entire system." The locations of the kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine are all mapped on the tongue. These meridians are stimulated by the oil massage.
Tried and Tested Oil Pulling
This ancient therapy has been tested at the Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital in Chennai, India. A study revealed that oil pulling is a highly effective way to remove bacteria in the mouth. A marked reduction was seen in Streptococcus mutans, plaque and gingivitis
Rediscovered and Recommended by a Russian Doctor
Oil pulling made a huge comeback in 1992 when Dr. F. Karach, MD spoke about it in a conference of oncologists and bacteriologists in UDSSR. He said: "Most different diseases could be totally cured without medicines or surgery. With pulling oil treatment I have cured my chronic blood disease with which I suffered for 15 years. It healed in 3 days an acute arthritis which made me lie in bed. Pulling Oil heals head-aches, bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and woman's diseases. It heals diseases of nerves, paralysis, encephalitis and chronic sleeplessness. It prevents the growth of malignant tumours, cuts and heals them."
Since then, oil pulling has acquired thousands of adherents around the world.
Doomed Sensitive Tooth Saved
About a couple of years ago, my dentist told me that eventually one of my molars would have to be pulled out. As you know, the impending root canal drove me to oil pulling and as a result this molar was saved but it took about two years of oil pulling.
The tooth suddenly became even more sensitive. So much so that anything hot or cold would set off the pain which would turn into a headache. This happened for about two months, but I continued with the oil pulling, knowing that it would only help. Sure enough, one day it stopped being sensitive and today it shows no signs of wanting out.
Why I Chose Gingelly (Sesame) Oil For Oil Pulling
Well, for one thing, one of the traditionally recommended oils - gingelly oil was cheaper than refined sunflower oil and said to have more benefits.
- Anti-inflammatory and antiviral
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Has calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and phosphorus
- Has vitamins A, B and E.
- Use one tablespoon of oil on an empty stomach (no drink of water either) in the morning
- Keep your mouth closed and chin up as you swish the oil around your teeth and gums for 20 minutes. If you find 20 minutes difficult at first, try 15 minutes.
- Don't allow the oil to reach your tonsils and throat area. The oil should be milky when you spit it out. If not, you haven't swished properly. Remember to spit it into the commode bowl instead of the washbasin. Or you'll have a clogged washbasin.
- Rinse your mouth and teeth thoroughly with warm water.
- Brush your teeth and wash the toothbrush with warm water to get rid of the oil.
- Drink two or three glasses of water afterwards.
- Avoid swallowing the oil as it is full of toxins.
- Use a good quality refined oil. Sesame (gingelly) or sunflower are the best. Olive oil may stain teeth and other oils are not recommended, although people do use coconut oil.
- If you want children to try this therapy, make sure they're old enough to master the technique. One teaspoon of oil is enough for them.
Try oil pulling. It can't harm you as it has no side effects. It can only benefit you. And do let us know how its going.
The Truth About Oil Pulling
You Can Continue Oil Pulling Daily After 3 Years
My three years of oil pulling are over. Someone who had first mentioned the beneficial effects of oil pulling to me (her grandmother had all her teeth and no illnesses) had told me that oil pulling is done for three years and thereafter once a week is enough, but I find that my sensitive tooth which was meant to go has begun to hurt again after a week.
I called up the doctor who had recommended this wonderful therapy to me. He says I can continue to oil pull every day; it does not have harmful effects. So I'm going back to this daily routine.
UPDATE: In about 5 days, the pain in the doomed tooth is gone. But I do my oil pulling on alternate days and so far the tooth is not protesting.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.
Oil Pulling Therapy
Anita Saran (author) from Bangalore, India on June 20, 2015:
Hi Natalie - my root canal was not in front and anyway, no matter where it is, oil pulling will take care of it. But it won't fill a tooth. It will certainly get rid of any infection. I still do oil pulling and have long since given up on the dentist. Thanks for reading! And good health to you!
Natalie on June 19, 2015:
My doctor told me to get a root canal but after reading the risks of infection spreading to other teeth and the possible treatment failures, I am now going to try the method of oil pulling. Is it possible that it wouldnt work for me because mine's on the back of the mouth while yours is at the front? And is oil pulling really gonna fill the hole in the tooth?
Anita Saran (author) from Bangalore, India on May 16, 2014:
Thjelma, thanks for reading. Doing it on an empty stomach has something to do with removing bacteria in the mouth that accumulates as you sleep - I suppose - (and they say disease enters from the mouth). Besides, some say doing the oil pulling after food and drink can make you nauseous. You can do it after eating and drinking, but it won't be as effective a detox. I will be asking the doctor who recommended oil pulling to me for details when he's back in town and will add a note.
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on May 14, 2014:
I have tried oil pulling twice and I have not done it again. Do I have to do it the first thing in the morning or I can drink my 2 cups of creamy english tea first after waking up? Thanks for reminding me this. I´ll do it again.
Anita Saran (author) from Bangalore, India on May 02, 2014:
Hello Harsha Vardhana
Thank you for the kind and informative comment and I hope your tooth is saved like mine was. Actually I was advised to do it every morning before eating or drinking. So try that instead of doing it irregularly. One of my teeth which was misaligned got into line with the oil pulling too.
Harsha Vardhana R from Bangalore on May 01, 2014:
Yes, OP is extra-ordinary! I tried when my teeth were shaky and they became strong and cleansed my mouth too!
I prefer Coconut oil as I believe in its exemplary healing capacities!
I have been advised a Wisdom tooth extraction by a dentist, as it seems mis-aligned and can decay the nearby teeth (her opinion!). So I have restarted OP (at least a few times per week)
Thank you, Anita. Your reminder helps me to continue on a regular basis.
Anita Saran (author) from Bangalore, India on May 01, 2014:
Thank you for reading. Perhaps you're allowing the oil to touch the back of your throat. And just use a tablespoonful.
dearabbysmom from Indiana on April 30, 2014:
I've been reading about this for awhile and tried it a couple time. To be honest, it made me gag and I had to spit it out way before 20 minutes. Do you know if that gets easier over time? This hub is a reminder to try again., thank you for writing it!