Oil pulling is an age old therapy, dating back to about 3000 years. Its origin is in India – it is part of Ayurvedic therapy.
I’m sure you have read a lot about it and may be you want to try it out yourself. But you could be so reluctant to actually do it because it sounds crazy!
Some people tell me the same. For some it feels so ill and uncomfortable. But given its “claimed” benefits, it doesn’t hurt to try something even if it is bit uncomfortable, right?
So what is oil pulling?
Oil pulling is nothing but swishing a teaspoon or table spoon of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes (could be tough for some, I know) and then spit it out.
You can do oil pulling with a variety of oils. But more on that later.
There are also various benefits to doing oil pulling which I will discuss later in this post.
But for now I can say that oil pulling works effectively to improve your oral health. And also your overall health.
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It helps draw out the toxins, mucous and the bad bacteria from your mouth that might get in to your bloodstream otherwise.
How to do oil pulling (without going insane)?
Pick any vegetable based oil. Take a teaspoon or table spoon of it – depending on how much you can handle in your mouth, and start swishing.
The most important thing is this – you have to do this on an empty stomach before you eat or drink anything. It means, almost the first thing in the morning (you are allowed to pee first, if you have to)!
Remember that you are going to have to do it for about 20 minutes so don’t be too hard. Or you could get stiff jaws.
Be gentle and slow while you do it. Since 20 minutes is quite some time, you don’t actually have to be aggressive with swishing to get those bad stuff off your mouth.
Once you are done, spit out the oil directly into the trash or in a plastic bag, but not in your sink. The oil can mess up the pipes.
While you spit it out, the oil will be much more in volume than you actually put into your mouth after it has collected saliva and other impurities from your mouth.
And the oil will be in a milky consistency when you spit it out.
Initially if you are not comfortable doing it for 20 minutes, you can start with 5 minutes and work your way up.
Also, gag reflex is quite common. So if you really want to spit it out before 20 minutes, do so and start again with fresh oil in your mouth.
Note that you could also develop mucous at the back of your throat while you are oil pulling, so you might want to spit out the oil to clear your throat if that’s uncomfortable for you!
Be very careful not to swallow any oil that you have been swishing because that would do just the opposite of what you intended to do – get those toxins and bacteria into your system rather than out of your system.
Once you have spit the oil out, rinse your mouth well with warm water. You could use cold water, but warm water helps cleanse out all the oil without leaving any traces.
While you start, it is quite common to have headache, congestion or other discomfort. Even though I haven’t had any of those symptoms to start with, I’ve heard people reporting the same.
So don’t worry. The symptoms will fade away in a day or two.
Make sure you are consistent with oil pulling – by doing it at least 5 days a week – to get the best results.
Don’t look at it as something that you “have” to do daily. Look at it as an opportunity to relax and take time for yourself while you have just woke up.
I usually sometimes sit with my eyes closed and make plans for the day while doing oil pulling. Some days, I check my emails, and send quick replies. Some days I read a few pages of a book.
If you do oil pulling by focusing on that alone for 20 minutes, you could go insane. So supplement it with other mental or physical activities (like mind mapping, making plans for the day, reading a book, doing minor works like checking and responding to emails etc.).
Best oils for oil pulling
So what are all the best oils for oil pulling? Any vegetable based oil will do. But make sure that the oil is cold pressed, unrefined and organic.
Many commercial vegetable based oils are not cold pressed. And hence are not suitable for oil pulling. So you might want to check the package for more details.
I personally prefer using coconut oil. Sesame oil is my next choice. Olive oil is also a great choice! Other oils that you can use are sunflower, safflower, castor, black cumin seed and canola.
You could try various oils and settle for one that you like the best and you are comfortable with.
Oil pulling with coconut oil
Even though oil pulling can be done with many kinds of oils, coconut oil is most widely used. Why? Because, of its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
It also tastes better than other oils. It is light.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid. It also contains medium chain triglycerides.
If you live in a rather cold region, your coconut oil will solidify. You might want to warm the oil a little bit to liquify it before putting into your mouth.
But if you are OK with putting solid coconut oil into your mouth and let it melt in your mouth before you swish it, that is fine too!
Oil pulling benefits?
One of the major benefits of oil pulling is detoxification. It improves your oral health because oil can remove plague and other toxins from your mouth without being aggressive on your teeth or gums.
It is also one of the most natural forms of therapy for oral detoxification. And detoxification solves many health problems indirectly!
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Following are the reported/supposed benefits of oil pulling (I’ve listed only the most common ones):
This is something that I’ve personally experienced myself. Teeth whitening is a very hot industry and is getting expensive every day.
And people who require whiter teeth are huge by the number! So why not try this inexpensive method to whiten your teeth?
Not to mention, you don’t develop any side effects or use harmful chemicals to whiten your teeth!
Since oil pulling doesn’t involve aggressive brushing or involves anything that could damage your gums, you get health gums by doing it.
It also helps with gum bleeding and plague.
Prevention of cavities
Cavities are increasingly becoming notorious, thanks to our eating and brushing habits.
You won’t get overnight results with oil pulling. It works its way slowly but steadily.
Since oil pulling helps clean your mouth and get rid of bacteria, fungi, the debris and other toxic waste doing it regularly will help you keep your cavities in check!
Reduced migraine and headache
Headaches are usually caused by stress and also by the toxins inside your body. Oil pulling helps to get rid of both of these, hence you should feel a difference.
Get a healthy, clear skin
Oil pulling basically removes toxins from your body so they don’t enter your bloodstream. So the benefits of oil pulling extend to your skin too.
Does oil pulling work?
Well there are no (or not many) scientific proofs of the benefits of oil pulling that I’ve discussed above.
But personally I’ve found that my teeth have got a lot whiter since then. Oil pulling and teeth whitening seem to go hand in hand for me.
I have also had people reporting about increased energy, clear skin, reduced migraine and other kind of stuff.
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So even though there is not much scientific evidence to whether oil pulling works or not, we have a lot of real life testimonials about it.
Are there any risks associated with oil pulling?
No, there are no reported “risk” factors associated with oil pulling. You can’t hurt yourself by rinsing your teeth with oil.
But if you do consider it as a replacement for your regular brushing and flossing, that could pose a risk to your oral health.
Other than that you are just fine.
A very few people have reported diarrhoea and upset stomach for the first couple of days of starting oil pulling. But those effects will fade away quite soon. Just make double sure that you don’t swallow any little bit of that oil you are swishing.
Also you have to make sure that the quality of the oil you use for oil pulling is top notch. Commercial oils may have risky additives added to them, so just check that bit.
So have you already done oil pulling? If so what are your comments on that? What positive effects have you had on your health because of oil pulling?
If you have not already tried oil pulling, will you give it a try?