Oil pulling, according to Tummala Koteswara Rao, is ancient Ayurvedic practice. It was introduced to the western world in the early nineties, but its popularity seems to have peaked just in the last few years.
Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes to “pull” harmful bacteria and toxins. It’s as simple as that. Traditionally sesame oil was used, but coconut oil has become the more commonly used oil due to its antibacterial properties.
I was quite intrigued about oil pulling and decided that since there is simply no harm in it, than why not? I’ve been oil pulling on and off for almost a year now and it has done great things.
There are so many benefits of oil pulling. They are as follows:
- Whitens teeth
- Prevents cavities & gingivitis
- Strengthens teeth and gums
- Helps TMJ
- Helps headaches
- Improves acne, psoriasis, & eczema
- Cures hangovers
- Removes toxins from the body
In my experience with oil pulling, I can say with confidence that it has helped whiten my teeth. I’m a coffee drinker, so this is one of my favorite benefits of oil pulling. Also, the first time I tried it I had a terrible toothache where a cavity was developing. The second day my tooth no longer hurt and it seemed to help reverse the cavity! I do feel like it has only done wonderful things to improve my oral health, but I really can’t say that it helped cure anything else; however, that is enough for me! In ancient times oil pulling was how they maintained oral health!
I must say that it’s really hard to get past the taste and texture of the solidified oil in my mouth. After the first 30-60 seconds the oil warms up enough to become liquified and then it is smooth sailing…it actually is only solid up to 76 degrees and then it becomes a liquid. If I remember I will put my jar of oil on top of the oven while it is on and that will liquify it, which makes for a more pleasant experience.
Using extra virgin (unrefined) coconut oil, take 1 tablespoon and put it in your mouth. Immediately begin swishing. Continue this for 10-20 minutes. I usually end up going for 15, never any less, and never go longer than 20 minutes because the toxins in which you just pulled could become reabsorbed. When the time is up, spit your oil out in the trash can. Make sure not to spit into the sink because as the oil solidifies and could potentially clog your drain. Do this every morning before eating and before brushing your teeth. Rinse your mouth with warm water and be sure not to swallow any of the oil. Brush and floss. Repeat daily. I usually take a couple of days off per week and I occasionally get out of the habit, but always go back to it.
The reason I choose coconut oil is because it is amazing! It certainly isn’t the cheapest, but with its antibacterial properties I find it to be the obvious choice. Here are some other awesome uses for coconut oil:
- Cooking with a high smoke point
- Add to food or drinks
- Use in place of lotion…it makes your skin feel AMAZING
- Makeup remover
- To help diaper rash
- Prevent age spots
- SPF 4
- Prevents stretch marks
- Kills yeast
- Hair treatment
- In place of lanolin
- Helps eczema and psoriasis
- Helps increase milk supply for breastfeeding mothers
- Improves insulin levels
- Sunburn relief
- Shaving cream and aftershave
- Season cast iron pans
- Helps get rid of cellulite
- Has anti inflammatory properties to help with arthritis
- Soothes bug bites
- Tanning oil
- Stimulates hair growth when applied topically
- Helps with weight loss
- Natural deodorant
- Helps with cold sores
There are skeptics out there, but from experience I can say that it is a great practice with proven benefits. My daughter, who is almost 10, also does oil pulling…always ask your doctor, but it is safe for children (who are old enough to not swallow any), and those who are pregnant and breastfeeding. I hope you’ll give it a try; there is certainly no harm in it!