Many people believe that the therapeutic effects of oil pulling are caused by the absorption of toxins and chemicals through blood vessels in the mouth and tongue, as well as sublingual/transmucosal absorption of the fatty acids in the oils used for pulling.
My theory on how the oil pulling effects the body chemistry will be explained it two parts.
Oil is non polar and attracts non polar molecules. The arrangement or geometry of the atoms in some molecules is such that one end of the molecule has a positive electrical charge and the other side has a negative charge. If this is the case, the molecule is called a polar molecule, meaning that it has electrical poles. Otherwise, it is called a non-polar molecule. Whether molecules are polar or non-polar determines if they will mix to form a solution or that they don't mix well together.
Saliva which is secreted into the mouth when the oil is repeatedly swished and pulled is mainly water, electrolytes, digestive enzymes, anti bacterial and antifungal/anti viral agents, and is mainly polar and therefore attracts polar molecules.
It is this heterogeneous mixture that works together to rid the mouth and body of unwanted toxins and chemicals.
The most common way for substances to migrate from blood to saliva is believed to be by unaided, or passive, diffusion. The capillaries surrounding the salivary glands are quite porous for many substances. Materials can pass from the blood system into the space surrounding the glands, and then make their way directly through the membranes of acinus or duct cells. The ability of a molecule to diffuse passively through cell membranes depends partly on its size, and partly on how much electrical charge it carries. If a molecule is polar in nature, or if it separates into charged ions while in solution, it will have a hard time passing through the membranes, which are made out of neutral fatty compounds called phospholipids. Steroid hormones are relatively small in size, and most of them are fatty, non-polar compounds, so they tend to pass relatively easily by diffusion. Other molecules such as the large protein hormones, or hormones or drugs that are bound to large carrier proteins while in the blood stream, are too big to enter by this route.
A second pathway used by molecules to enter saliva is by filtering through the tight spaces between acinus or duct cells. In order to do this they must be relatively small. Sulfated steroids such as dehydro-epiandrosterone sulfate and estriol sulfate, which are not able to pass through the fatty cell walls because of their electrical charges, are believed to enter principally by the filtration route. Compounds such as DHEA-S are slower to migrate into saliva than the neutral steroid hormones, and when saliva output is stimulated they may move too slowly to keep up with the accelerated flow rates, causing concentrations in saliva to drop.
Blood components can also gain entry into saliva from the outflow of the serum-like gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) from the gums, or from small injuries or burns in the mouth. GCF is believed to be a major route by which certain molecules, which would ordinarily be too large to pass by either diffusion or filtration, can find their way from serum into saliva.
A fourth pathway for the entry of a substance into saliva is by active transport through the secretory cells of the glands, which is the route used by secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA). Polymeric IgA is secreted by B-lymphocyte cells close to the salivary cells, then bound and transported across the cells by a Polymeric Immunoglobulin Receptor, and finally released into salivary secretions. It has been shown that secretion of SIgA is increased by nervous stimulation of the saliva glands, but the exact manner in which the transport is accelerated is not yet understood. There must be an upper limit to the speed of transport, since SIgA concentrations in saliva are known to decrease as saliva flow is stimulated.
These pathways can also give entry to various bacteria and viruses that have the appropriate electrical charges.
The other theory that I have for understanding oil pulling is not quite as scientific, but more eastern in thinking.
As I described above. The polar and non polar molecules of the heterogeneous mixture(saliva and oil) are removing the toxins and various chemicals with the corresponding electrical charges, when theyíre being pulled.
This cleansing of the mouth and tongue is the basis for the next phase of the therapeutic process. If you have studied acupuncture you may be aware of the many points on acupuncture meridians that become congested and blocked from food, bacteria and environmental toxins which our bodies absorb. The tongue is very important to the function of most of the organs and biochemical reactions taking place in the body.
It is my theory that by removing the toxins and various microbes from the tongue we free the congestion and blockages from the important meridian pathways that interconnect our many organs.