2 Ayurvedic Practices You Need to Try
Have you tried oil pulling or tongue scraping? You may be thinking “huh” or perhaps you’re familiar, as these have definitely become increasingly popular and almost mainstream over the past several years. Both of these practices have their roots in Ayurveda, a medical/spiritual system and sister science to Yoga that has been around for over 5,000 years.
The name itself is somewhat self-explanatory. Basically you swish oil around in your mouth and then spit it out. Most sources recommend cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil – which is what I use – but I have also seen sesame and sunflower oils touted as options. All you do is take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of oil, put it in your mouth and start swishing. The goal is to swish for 20 minutes, but you may want to start with 5 and work your way up. When I first started I thought there was no way in hell I was going to swish something around in my mouth for that long. But it actually goes by much faster than you’d expect (I promise)! I usually set a timer, turn on some tunes and then clean, vacuum, wash my dishes, etc. until the timer goes off. If you’re using coconut oil, DO NOT SPIT IN YOUR DRAIN. That stuff will gunk up your drains like no other and you do not want to deal with that. Spit it in the trash, rinse your mouth with some water and congrats, you just oil pulled.
According to most sources, oil pulling should be a daily practice and done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I’m not going to lie though, maybe I’m a rebel or maybe I just do it wrong, but I oil pull at night before brushing my teeth and it seems to work just fine. My advice? You do you.
So, now that you know the “how,” want to know the “why”? Some of the benefits of oil pulling include:
Detox, baby. Lots of toxins build up in our digestive tract and end up in our mouth and on our tongue – lovely, right? But when we oil pull we can actually draw out those toxins and then spit ‘em out.
Helps fight cavities. Because oil pulling removes the Streptococcus mutant bacteria (which leads to tooth decay) as well as other microorganisms, it’s super awesome for oral health and can actually help prevent cavities. It may also help with plaque-induced gingivitis. That’s pretty dope, right?
Whitens your pearly whites. Coconut oil contains natural antibiotic and antiviral properties, which clean your teeth and keep them white. Plus, if done daily, oil pulling may remove some tooth stain making your teeth look even whiter.
Keeps your skin clear. While I can’t say I have personally experienced this benefit, I have read that oil pulling removes toxins from your body, toxins that would otherwise make it into the bloodstream and could wreak havoc on your skin. Other sources claim that rashes and skin issues often reduce dramatically, or even clear up completely, when oil pulling. Again, I can’t say I have had any experience with this, but let me know if you have.
Ahhhh, leaves ya feelin' clean. Last, but really not least, oil pulling leaves your mouth feeling real fresh and real clean. Trust me, we all know that brushing and flossing are major do’s, but adding oil pulling to your daily - or at least weekly - routine will leave your mouth feeling so clean and toxic-free. You’re gonna love it!
I've been oil pulling every night for a few months and I have definitely seen and felt the benefits. And, at the very least, even if you do not buy into all of the benefits it's still a very nice, all-natural mouth wash that leaves your mouth feeling great. Give it a go for yourself.
Personally I think a lot of us clean our teeth but totally neglect our tongues. And, ummm hello dirty tongues are totally gnarly and nasty. Not a good look on any of us. So let’s clean those, ok? Enter the tongue scraper. Ta-da! This bad boy is going to be your new fav tool, I promise. Once you are equipped with your own lovely tongue scraper - metal ones are much preferred over plastic, and stainless steel is ideal for balancing all constitutions and imbalances – you are ready to go. I use mine every morning after I brush my teeth, but it also works to scrape before you brush.
Using the tongue scraper couldn’t be easier and it only takes a minute. All you do is hold both ends of the tongue scraper in your hands, open your mouth, place the scraper on the surface of the tongue as far back as is comfortable and gently pull the forward so that it “scrapes” and removes the unwanted coating. Rinse the tongue scraper and repeat as necessary. I usually repeat 5 to 10 times, but it’s really up to you. And voila, you're done.
Some of the benefits of tongue scraping include:
Clears toxins and bacteria from the tongue
Promotes overall oral and digestive health
Helps remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath
Enhances the sense of taste
Gently stimulates the internal organs
I love, love, LOVE tongue scraping. It really takes your oral hygiene game to the next level. Once you try it I know you'll be into it as well. So, if you do give either of these practices a go - or if you're already a fan - let me know in the comments below.
Yay oral health!