So, I’m sure many of you have heard of the phrase oil pulling at some point. Recently, it seems to be gaining popularity in the health world. However, before you write this off as just another health trend. It is important to realize this ‘trend’ actually has a rich history around the world. It is a highly regarded tradition in Ayurveda (a holistic system of medicine), which originated 3000-5000 years ago in India. In Ayurveda, it is often also referred to as Kavala Graha.
But what exactly is oil pulling?
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Oil pulling is taking oil—I prefer coconut oil, and swishing it around your mouth and in between your teeth!
What’s all the hype about?
The idea is that the pure oils are able to pull the harmful bacteria, fungus, etc. From the mouth, teeth, throat, and gums without causing any harm (source) It has been shown in some testimonials help heal tooth decay, strengthen teeth and gums, naturally whiten teeth, and cleanse the entire oral cavity. There is research that suggests the health of your mouth is directly correlated with the health of your body, in Laymen’s Terms a healthier mouth can assist in a healthier body!
In holistic medicine, the patient is treated as a whole (mind, body, spirit). Many holistic practitioners suggest oil pulling could assist the lymphatic system because of its ability to remove harmful bacteria and create a healthy environment for good bacteria to thrive.
Some other possible benefits include:
Prevention of diseases in the oral cavity, such as gingivitis
Helps prevent bad breath
Possible remedy for bleeding gums, dry mouth, and chapped lips
Relief for migraines
Helps with an alcohol hangover
Aids in reducing inflammation related to chronic pain
There are many other claims and testimonials about the numerous benefits of oil pulling. However, they are not proven with conclusive scientific evidence, so I have just listed a few. I can say from my personal experience that I have noticed whiter teeth, chronic pain relief (I suffer from nerve damage in my neck from both Lyme Disease and a prior car accident.), and mental clarity. I also find the entire routine of oil pulling to be very meditative.
What oil should I be using?
This one is up to you.
Personally, I like to use organic unrefined coconut oil and have found it the easiest to incorporate into my routine. I cook and bake with it all the time, so it’s always in the house!
I find coconut oil works best for me due to its anti-microbial properties, it seems to whiten my teeth, and the taste is easiest for me to swish for twenty minutes. However, Sesame Oil is what was traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine. In my research, people seem to find that effective as well, and it is considered safe.
While technically, any oil can be used, you definitely want to stay away from anything with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. I also don’t recommend using any vegetable oils (this includes canola oil, corn, sunflower, commercial peanut oil, soybean oil, etc.) These oils cannot be extracted using pressing; therefore, they are extracted using chemical, unnatural processes, and in my opinion, unhealthy practices.
So how do I oil pull?
Because oil pulling is considered a detoxifying procedure, you want to oil pull first thing in the morning.
Swish the oil around your mouth for about 15–20 minutes—it may seem like a while, but I do it while I make my golden milk, and the time just flies!
Spit out the oil into the trash. Do not spit it out in your sink—it will clog drains!
Get some water and swish that in between your teeth
Then brush your teeth—I use charcoal tooth paste!
Let me know how it goes for you, and feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions!!