I have been hearing about oil pulling for a while now. I have been intrigued to say the least. Yet despite this I couldn’t bring myself to try it. Swishing oil around in my mouth for 15-20 minutes every day though harmless seemed disgusting. Yet I continued to be intrigued. Especially if the natural claimed results are true. So today I took the plunge. That's right today I tried oil pulling for the first time. I intend to try this for at least 3 months and see if there is any difference.
So what exactly is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is a practice that dates back thousands of years to Ayurvedic medicine, (One of the oldest natural health systems in the world.) and it was introduced to the United States back in 1992 by Dr. F. Karach, MD. The practice of oil pulling is believed to bring health to both your gums and your teeth by getting rid of harmful toxins and bacteria. The result of getting rid of these toxins and bacteria is amazing. It is said to prevent and heal dental problems while at the same time whitening your teeth. Since most of the bacteria that enters your body come through your mouth, it is believed that oil pulling can also affect your entire state of health.
How do you do “Oil Pulling”???
First of all I want to note that while Oil Pulling is very easy it takes some getting used to. Oil pulling is simply swishing around in your mouth a tablespoon of high-quality vegetable based oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes.
Choose what oil you want to use. The most common types of oil are Coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil (though any high quality vegetable based oil will work). All I had on hand was Extra Virgin Olive oil, so this is what I am using. (Though I plan to go to the store this week and get some coconut oil to try)
It is recommended that you do your oil pulling first thing in the morning BEFORE you eat or drink anything. (though you can actually do it at any time as long as you do so on an empty stomach. You can do oil pulling up to three times a day, though once is good enough to see results))
Take 1 Tablespoon of your chosen oil and swish it around your mouth just like you would a mouthwash for 15 – 20 minutes. (Warning: Do NOT lean your head back and gargle and do NOT swallow!)
If your mouth or jaw gets tired, then you are swishing too hard. Just relax your mouth and use your tongue to help move the oil all around. As I said this practice does take getting used to, but it is said to become easier with constant practice. (I hope so) If your jaw gets tired or you feel the overwhelming urge to swallow or gag (like I did today) before the 15 – 20 minutes are up, then just spit the oil (that’s now filled with toxins) into the toilet or garbage, and just swish a new batch of oil for the remaining time. (It took me 4 tablespoons to complete my 20 minutes today.)
When you’re done, spit the oil now filled with bacteria and toxins into the toilet/garbage can, and rinse your mouth out. (Some suggested salt water or mouthwash. I just used warm water to rinse which I spit out as well and then brushed my teeth.)
So what are the Benefits?
Well first of all I noticed how clean my mouth and teeth feel (not just immediately afterwards but still hours later.) Consistent oil pulling is said to:
-Tighten lose teeth
-Prevent and heal teeth
-Whiten/ straighten teeth
-Improves eczema/ Clear Skin
-Decrease in headaches
-It helps with ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs
-Less severe asthma
-Improved PMS symptoms
-Regulated menstrual cycles
If even half of these claims are true, then oil pulling is totally worth it. I plan to put my research and friends testimonials on this ancient practice to the test. I will make sure to do some follow up posts for those interested in my results.
Here are more scientific studies that support the benefits of oil pulling for those who want to lean more:
HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis. Journal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007 ;1(1):Pages 12-18
TD Anand, C Pothiraj, RM Gopinath, et al. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria. African Journal of Microbiology Research, Vol 2:3 pp 63-66, MAR 2008. (PDF Link)
S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari.Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry. 26(1):12-7, 2008 Mar
S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models. Asia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug. (PDF)