Oil pulling

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Just Swish! Oil pulling 101 - the Oilologist - image by Britt Reints/FlickrWhat is oil pulling?

There is nothing new age about oil pulling, it’s been around for a long time! It is an Ayurvedic practice, and is really as simple as swishing oil around in your mouth! You will see some great results if you pull for about 20 minutes every morning.

Why on earth would I swish oil around in my mouth?

The swishing pulls toxins from your body, which are mixed with the oil, and then discarded. This release of toxins helps to heal your gums, whiten your teeth, and much more – just read on!

What are the benefits of oil pulling?

Oil pullers are reporting some great improvement in their health, such as:

  • Overall strengthening of the teeth and gums and jaws.
  • Whiter teeth.
  • Fewer diseases of the gums and mouth, such as cavities and gingivitis.
  • Prevention of bad breath.
  • Prevention of dryness of the lips, mouth and throat.
  • Relief from migraine headaches.
  • Reduction of swelling in bones and joints.
  • Relief from gastroenteritis.
  • Eczema relief.
  • Reduction of congestion.
  • Improved vision.
  • Improved sleep patterns.
  • Lessening of hangover symptoms after excess alcohol consumption.
  • Better looking, healthy complexion.

Oil pulling has also been considered as  a holistic treatment for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) and general soreness in the jaw area. Further research indicates that it also helps support hormone imbalances and normal kidney function, and helps to generally detoxify the body.

How do I do it?

Most reports say to use a tablespoon of oil. I find that way too much! As the oil mixes with the saliva in your mouth, the volume obviously increases, and it’s just too much oil for me to manipulate!

Start with a teaspoon of oil. Swish it around in your mouth, letting it pass over your tongue, gums, and teeth. Use your tongue to try to force the oil between your teeth. You should aim to pull for about 20 minutes; however, when you’re starting out, do what you can and work up to 20 minutes.

As the oil pulls the toxins in, it will turn white and frothy. Make sure you don’t swallow it! When your time is up, spit out the oil. DO NOT spit the oil down the sink, or into the toilet, as solidified oil can really mess with your plumbing. I spit mine into a snack-size Ziploc bag, and throw it in the trash.

When you’ve discarded the oil, rinse your mouth out, and brush your teeth as normal!

How does it work?

As the oil moves around your mouth, it mixes with your saliva, resulting in a thin, white liquid. The lipids in the oils pull bacteria and other toxins from your saliva. As you continue to swish the oil around your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue, it absorbs more and more toxins, and can turn thick and viscous. When the oil  reaches this consistency, spit it out before the toxins are reabsorbed.

For maximum benefit, repeat this process daily for 30 days. Some of us incorporate it into a daily health routine and don’t stop after 30 days.

When should I do it?

Most suggest oil pulling first thing in the morning, before you have eaten or brushed your teeth. If you’re anything like me, that’s not going to work as you need to call the dog in from outside and make sure the children are up for school. Swishing oil around in my mouth while talking is not a feat I have mastered yet!

I use the first opportunity I have when I have 20 minutes that I don’t have to talk to anyone. Many times, that means I’m oil pulling during my commute to work!

What oils can I use?

Traditionally, Ayurvedic practitioners use sesame or sunflower oil.  I prefer coconut oil, due to its other health benefits (and because it’s the most used oil in my house), but you can also expect the same results from using olive oil. Feel free to experiment with adding essential oils to the mix! I like to add a drop of Peppermint for extra fresh breath, or on days when I have to go into the office, I use our protective blend for extra immunity against rogue collaboration room germs!

Is oil pulling safe?

There have been no adverse effects reported due to oil pulling. Just be sure not to swallow the oil you have pulled with.

Oil pulling studies:

Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva.

Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis.


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