I’ve been hearing so much about oil pulling, I already started using pure organic oil in some of my recipes and mixed it with tumeric to whiten my teeth, which really works, but I didn’t know there were so many other benefits from coconut oil. It is a cold pressed oil, looks almost like lard, so I am sitting here now with 1 teaspoon of oil which started out to be thick and now is drooling down my chin and swishing it around in my mouth, 20 minutes seems like forever but not really after you get use to it.
Oil pulling is a folk remedy where oil is swished around in the mouth. Ayurvedic literature states “oil pulling is capable of improving oral and systemic health, including a benefit in conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes, ashma, and acne, as well as whitening teeth”, according to Wikipedia. Oil pulling is known as “Kavala” in the Charaka Samhita, which is considered alternative medicine in India. It basically involves swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes first thing in the morning. The oil is said to ‘pull’ toxins and bacteria from your mouth, teeth, gums and throat, which you then spit out (DO NOT SWALLOW) at the end of the 20 minutes.
When you start oil pulling, the oil mixes with your saliva and the lipids in the oil start to pull out toxins from the saliva. As you swish it around, it gathers more and more toxins and by the time you spit it out, the oil is more of a viscous white texture (as opposed to clear, thin liquid that you started with).
One study shows that oil pulling does significantly reduce the strep mutans bacteria in plaque and saliva that is known to cavities. Also, vegetable fat is an emusilfier by nature and is shown to create a cleansing environment in the mouth. While oil pulling lacks extensive studies to back it up, it has quite the list of benefits experienced by many who practice this technique:
BENEFITS IN THE MOUTH:
Prevents cavities and gingivitis
Strengthens gums/teeth/jaw (even a possible holistic treatment for TMJ sufferers)
Prevention for bad breath
BENEFITS OUTSIDE THE MOUTH:
Migraine, headache and hangover relief
Helps get rid of acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin issues
Reduces symptoms of sinus infections and allergies
Helps support normal kidney function
Helps reduce insomnia and other sleep issues
Corrects hormone imbalances
Aids in reducing overall pain
Helps detoxify the body of harmful metals and organisms
I asked myself how can swishing glorified grease around in your mouth really lead to so many benefits in your whole body? These oils are believed to help the lymphatic system as harmful bacteria are removed and micro flora can flourish in a healthy environment.
Also, it’s not so much about the oil as it is about the magic of the mouth. It is said to be the gateway to your overall health, and oil pulling is just one way (in addition to brushing and flossing) to keep a super duper clean mouth. When oral health is improved a lot of other things are as well, everything is connected in your body.
OKAY, SO HOW DO I START OIL PULLING?
Here are a few tips and guidelines to get you started oil pulling. (Disclaimer: I am not a dentist or a licensed practitioner and the advice below is based on my personal experience and research. If you have health issues, special concerns or questions please consult your physician when attempting any holistic health remedy)
Upon waking up, place a teaspoon of organic, cold pressed sesame, coconut, sunflower or olive oil in your mouth. If using coconut oil, it will liquify after a few seconds in your mouth but if you wish to heat it before for texture issues you can (not ideal though).
Set a timer for 20 minutes and start swishing! Don’t be too aggressive as you are going for a while and don’t want to tire out. If your saliva makes the liquid too much to keep in for the full time, just spit some out and keep going. DO NOT SWALLOW ANY OF THE OIL, during or after as it contains all the bacteria and toxins you are trying to get rid of.
After the time is up, spit it out into the trash or plastic bag and throw away. Do not spit down the drain as it can solidify and clog your pipes.
Rinse your mouth well with water afterwards, and then brush your teeth as you normally would, and believe me my mouth did feel super clean.
If you can’t do it for the full 20 minutes, start with less (5-10 mins) until you get used to it. Many people use this time to meditate or multitask, it’s totally up to you!
If you have braces, crowns, fillings and dentures you should be cautious. Fillings are okay to do oil pulling, but if you have dentures you should remove them before oil pulling. For braces and crowns, they say it’s fine, but be aware that your teeth could whiten around the braces and there is the possibility that it can loosen a crown so check with your dentist before oil pulling!
SO, HERE’S WHAT I THINK ABOUT OIL PULLING
I started doing it right away out of pure curiosity! What have I noticed so far? Well I’ve only been doing it for a couple days, my mouth felt super clean, whiter teeth, and my mouth and teeth felt dentist-level clean (really smooth). I would love to hear your story if you start oil pulling and I will let you know if I find more benefits after I have done oil pulling for a couple weeks.