Have you ever tried oil pulling? You might be skeptical of this natural health treatment, and possibly for good reasons. Oil pulling is simply the process of swishing organic, cold-pressed oil such as coconut, sesame, or olive oil in your mouth for 5-20 minutes a day and then spitting the oil out.
Stemming from Ayurvedic health practices, it’s believed to relieve a variety of symptoms and remove detrimental bacteria. But does oil pulling really offer any significant health benefits? Dr. Jason Kahan, DDS, states there’s no real evidence to back up the many claims about health benefits one can derive from oil pulling. “There’s nothing harmful about it, but the scientific evidence simply isn’t there to support that oil pulling can help with afflictions such as arthritis, migraines, TMJ, gum disease, or gut health.” However, there are lots of studies that support claims that oil pulling can possibly help with gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath.
Let’s acknowledge and consider some alternate benefits to oil pulling that are less about our physical health and more appealing to our mental and emotional well-being.
- Swishing with cold-pressed organic coconut oil can both offer a meditative experience as well helping you find those precious moments of the day when you simply have to give in to quiet.
- Doing something every morning as a ritual instills discipline and commitment.
- You’ll be more aware of the health of your teeth and knowing that you’re doing everything you can to maintain a healthy mouth, the more you’ll have to smile about.
If 20 minutes seems like too big of a commitment, start with 5 and work your way up. It’s important to note that oil pulling in now way replaces brushing properly, flossing, and tongue scraping. It’s an interesting supplement, and there’s always the chance that the various claims could have some merit. If you’re curious, here’s how you actually do it:
Oil Pulling in 4 Easy Steps
- A bottle of organic, unrefined, cold-pressed coconut, sesame, olive, or sunflower oil
- One tablespoon
1. Oil pull in the morning with an empty stomach (refrain from any drinking or eating before pulling).
2. Place one tablespoon of oil in your mouth.
3. Swish from front to back for up to 20 minutes or until you feel the oil change from an oily texture to a watery one. If your jaw starts to hurt, you are swishing too hard. It’s important to move the oil around gently in your mouth.
4. Spit it out (best to spit in a garbage can or outside to avoid possible plumbing issues, though the oil should be mostly changed to water by the time you). Immediately rinse with water and brush your teeth to remove lingering toxins.
After discarding toxin-filled pulled oil from your mouth, Ukrainian MD, Dr. F. Karach (who specializes in oil pulling), recommends this routine:
Immediately rinse the mouth with warm salt water (Himalayan or Celtic Salt). Rinsing isn’t absolutely necessary but is very helpful.
You can do the oil pulling every morning if you like. There’s no rule about frequency – judge according to your body’s own signals.