Learn about the practice of oil pulling for oral health. I’ll talk about the benefits of oil pulling, the types of oils you can use, how to correctly oil pull, and my testimonial about my personal use of consistent oil pulling.
What is oil pulling?
There are some complicated natural therapies out there. By comparison, oil pulling is deceptively simple. Sip some oil, swish for 10 minutes. That’s it!
Oil pulling therapy is a practice taken from Ayurvedic medicine that involves swishing (or “pulling”) unrefined oil in your mouth for several minutes.
Think of it as oily mouthwash, except way more powerful. (Don’t forget to try my mouthwash recipe, too.)
The modern adaptation of oil pulling has only recently become popular in Western society, but already many are reporting amazing results from this unorthodox therapy. (Read about my own results at the end of the post!)
What are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?
The alleged benefits of oil pulling cover everything from curing gingivitis to facilitating weight loss.
Some users even report a decrease in gray hair!
I’m a skeptic, personally, but there are some interesting stories out there that include benefits like:
– Whiter, straighter teeth
– Healthy, pink gums
– Increased energy
– Decreased migraine headaches
– Clear sinuses
– Less severe asthma
– Decreased allergies
– Improved PMS symptoms
– Regulated menstrual cycles
– Better sleep
– Clear skin
Overall, oil pulling is known as a powerful method of detoxifying the body. Coconut oil expert Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy, says: “Oil pulling is one of the most remarkable methods of detoxification and healing I have ever experienced in my career as a naturopathic physician.”
What Oils to Use for Oil Pulling
Traditionally unrefined sunflower or sesame oil was used for oil pulling, but today many other oils are used as well. Unrefined olive or coconut oil come highly recommended if you don’t want to use the traditional oils.
Oil Pulling How-To Guide:
1. Ideally oil pulling should be done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (I’m assuming because swishing the oil in your mouth might trigger the gag reflex in some folks — and we don’t need to combine that with a big breakfast, am I right?).
2. About one tablespoon on oil should be used. You can start with less, though, if that seems like too much.
3. A couple drops of essential oil or a healing oil like oregano (which might be good for thrush) can be added if desired. (Learn where I shop for essential oils online here.)
4. Swish the oil slowly and methodically, not vigorously.
5. Try to make sure the oil reaches every region of your mouth.
6. Be careful not to swallow the oil. This stuff is cleaning all kinds of gunk from your teeth and gums — it’s not for eating, okay?
7. Continue swishing the oil for at least 10 minutes, preferably more like 20 minutes.
8. The oil will become very thin and foamy as you swish.
9. Spit the oil out and rinse your mouth thoroughly with pure water.
10. Brush with a natural toothpaste afterwards. Click here for ideas for toothpaste alternatives.
How often should you oil pull?
Oil pulling can be done as often as you like. Daily sessions are usually recommended if you have specific health problems you are trying to address with oil pulling. I’d recommend at least a couple times per week if you want to reap the benefits.
This traditional practice is also an excellent measure to add to your daily routine to facilitate detoxification and overall health.
My Oil Pulling Benefits Testimonial
I discovered oil pulling therapy last year and decided to try it for fun. I used coconut oil since that’s what I had around at the time. I didn’t notice any astounding benefits, so after about a week of swishing for 20 minutes each day I gave it up.
Since then I’ve pulled oil a couple times a month at random.
Then about a week ago I started thinking about it again and decided to give it another whirl. I used olive oil this time because it seemed convenient. I swished for about ten minutes a day for a few days.
Now, before I continue, I want to explain that I’ve had a problem with plaque building up on the back of my lower front teeth for as many years as I can remember.
A Note About Plaque
I realize the stuff that colonizes on the back of my teeth is actually called calculus — yes, like the math. It’s like the advanced form of plaque. Calculus is also known as tartar. For the sake of simplicity, I’m just calling it all plaque. If you’d like to boost your dental knowledge, read this page about calculus, plaque, and other junk you don’t want on your teeth.
Oil Pulling Testimonial Continued:
Because of a (mostly unfounded) aversion I have to dental visits, I don’t get my teeth professionally cleaned often (don’t worry, otherwise my dental hygiene is great!). And besides, clean teeth don’t happen twice a year at the dentist — they happen through healthy daily habits. So I was looking for natural ways to support healthy, clean teeth, and oil pulling fit the bill.
I decided to floss right after oil pulling with olive oil for the first time (usually I floss at night and do oil pulling in the morning–it never occurred to me they might go better together!).
And as I was flossing all of the plaque build up literally just broke away from my teeth. I was astonished, and ran out of the bedroom exclaiming to my husband how crazy this was, that almost all the build up was gone.
Over the next few days I continued to floss after oil pulling, and now I have virtually no plaque build up behind my lower front teeth. My teeth feel very smooth and clean.
Nothing short of a dental cleaning has ever been able to accomplish this before, and to put the icing on the cake this was absolutely painless (yay!) and basically free (I guess besides the tiny cost of a few tablespoons of olive oil).
(For the record, I don’t think the difference was really in the type of oil I used, but mostly in the timing and consistency.)
Want to learn more about oil pulling?
If you want to learn how to whiten your teeth with oil pulling, read this post HERE.
If you want to read more about the benefits of oil pulling, check out coconut guru Bruce Fife’s book Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing which can be found at a fairly reasonable price online. Not sure if your local library is going to carry this one, but it’s worth a shot to see if you can reserve it to get a peek at this interesting stuff.
Do you practice consistent oil pulling? I’d love to see your testimonial in the comments below!
Love coconut oil? More of my posts:
- Coconut Oil for Clear Skin
- Super Easy Coconut Oil Fudge Recipe
- Coconut Oil, Weight Loss and Metabolism
Elizabeth is the founder of The Nourished Life and has been writing about natural living for 12 years. Her work has been featured at Shape, Bustle, and Mother Earth Living. Her mission is to help you lower your stress levels and find fun ways to become happier and healthier. Read more about Elizabeth here.