Oil pulling is the simplest Ayurvedic procedure with the greatest results in all types of oral dental problems. It proves to be a blessing in disguise, especially in the case of a toothache.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.
Toothache is the most common type of orofacial pain and when severe, is considered a dental emergency. Common causes of toothache are many.
They include inflammation of the dental pulp usually in response to tooth decay. Dental trauma or other factors like dentin hypersensitivity (short, sharp pain, usually associated with exposed root surfaces) can cause toothache.
Apical periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone around the root apex) can cause toothache.
An abscessed tooth (a bacterial infection inside the center of the tooth) or a damaged filling can be a source of toothache.
Repetitive motions such as chewing gum, grinding or clenching teeth can cause toothache. Infected gums and eruption or removal of a tooth-like the wisdom teeth can also cause toothache.
Pain is an unpleasant sensation caused by intense or damaging events. In a toothache, the nerve is stimulated by inflammation of the dental pulp.
The pain pathway is mostly transmitted via the myelinated and un-myelinated C nerve fiber of the trigeminal nerve. This supplies sensation to the teeth and gums via many divisions and branches resulting in a toothache.
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In Ayurveda, the teeth (danta) originate and get nourishment from bone tissue (asthidhatu) which is itself formed by Vata predominant portions of nutrients.
Toothache (dantabheda or dantashool) is considered purely due to a Vata Dosha imbalance according to the ancient Ayurvedic classical medical text, the Charaka Samhita.1
Besides these facts, it is also believed that the aggravation of Vata dosha is responsible for the complaint of pain in any type of health disorder.
What Ayurveda Says About Oil Pulling
In Ayurveda, oil pulling (gandush and kaval), out of all the Ayurvedic healthcare protocols, is considered an imperative part of daily routine or dinacharya. In addition to offering several oral health benefits, oil pulling also detoxifies and heals the body.
When To See The Doctor
If you have a toothache, please check the situation out with your doctor. Though oil pulling is safe, it is contraindicated in children below the age of 5.
If toothache pain does not disappear within one week’s time or if your toothache is related to any non-dental problems (i.e. structures other than a tooth) and is a referred pain originating elsewhere, please see your doctor.
There are two methods of oil pulling mentioned in Ayurveda. They are known as gandush and kaval. In gandush, the mouth is completely filled with oil such that gargling is impossible. In kaval, a comfortably lesser amount of oil is used such that gargling is possible.2
Ayurveda says that a toothache is exclusively due to aggravation of Vata dosha so it is best to treat it with oil application.
The properties of the oil are exactly opposite to that of Vata dosha, therefore, it perfectly brings the imbalanced Vata dosha to a normal state. The Ayurvedic Scholar Charaka stated that oil is the best among substances for balancing Vata Dosha.3
In addition, oil pulling is also indicated for tingling of the teeth (dantaharsa), loose teeth (danta chala), and for all the oro-dental problems caused by Vata dosha (vataja mukha roga).4
The Ayurvedic texts state that one who does Oil Pulling regularly will never develop a toothache. Moreover, the regular practice of Oil Pulling increases the depth of voice, strengthens the jaw, makes the face attractive, improves taste perception and prevents dryness of the throat.
Oil Pulling also relieves cracked lips, tingling of the teeth upon ingesting sour foods and dental caries or cavities, making teeth strong and healthy.5
Ayurveda considers sesame oil the best among all the oils of plant origin6 and has also prescribed it for regular Oil Pulling use.7 Sesame oil is Vata pacifying (Vatanashaka), it possesses the quality of penetrating deep into the tissue (vyavayi), acts as an antibiotic (krimighna) and has the ability of curing all disease (samskarasarvarogajit).8 Sesame seeds are said to be beneficial for dental health.9
According to modern research, sesame oil contains three lignans, sesamin, sesamolin, and sesaminol. These lignans contain Vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition, linoleic acid, and oleic acid are also major components of sesame oil. These components possess anti-oxidative properties that reduce lipid peroxidation by diminishing free radical injury to oral tissues.
In addition, sesame oil possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive (inhibits the sensation of pain) activities as well. It shows that sesame oil is a promising agent for the treatment of pain and inflammation.10
Oil pulling basically works in three ways.11
The oils used for oil pulling contain fat. The alkali hydrolysis process emulsifies the fat into bicarbonate ions, normally found in the saliva. Soaps which are effective cleaning agents blend in the oil, hence increasing the surface area of the oil and in turn increasing the cleansing action.
2. The Oil Is Protective
The viscous nature of the oil inhibits plaque accumulation and adhesion of bacteria.
The antioxidants present in the oil cause detoxification by preventing lipid peroxidation. This results in an antibiotic-like effect, helping in the destruction of microorganisms and potentiating the action of Vitamin E in the oral cavity.
Daily practice of oil pulling reduces inflammation, wipes out harmful bacteria causing tooth decay, and gives relief to a toothache efficiently.
So the next time you have a toothache, try oil pulling. It’s inexpensive, easy to do, accessible and effective. Let your toothache be a thing of the past with this simple remedy.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying the remedies mentioned in this article.
1. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita Sutra sthana chapter 20 verse 9-11, Chaukhmba surbharati Prakashana, reprint 2000.
2. K.R.SrikanthaMurthy, Astanga Hrdayam, vol-1, sutra sthana, chapter 22, page no- 270, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi.
3. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita Sutra sthana chapter 25 verse 40, Chaukhmba surbharati Prakashana, reprint 2000.
4. K.R. Srikantha Murthy, Astanga Hrdayam, vol-1, sutra sthana, chapter 22, page no- 270, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi.
5. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita Sutra sthana chapter 5 verse 78-80, Chaukhmba surbharati Prakashana, reprint 2000.
6. Ambikadutta Sashtri, Sushruta Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 45 verse 129. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
7. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita Sutra sthana chapter 5 verse 78, Chaukhmba surbharati Prakashana, reprint 2000.
8. K.R. Srikantha Murthy, Astanga Hrdayam, sutra sthana, 1(5): 37-40, 62, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi.
9. Ambikadutta Sashtri, Sushruta Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 46 verse 40. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
10. Érika Maria Henriques Monteiro, Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of the Sesame Oil and Sesamin, Nutrients. 2014 May; 6(5): 1931–1944. Published online 2014 May.
12. doi: 10.3390/nu6051931,PMCID: PMC4042560 PMID: 24824289
11. Mustafa Naseem, Oil pulling and importance of traditional medicine in oral health maintenance, Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2017 Sep-Oct; 11(4): 65–70.PMCID: PMC5654187 PMID: 29085271. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5654187/
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