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It has taken quite some time, but oil pulling has finally gained some popularity in the United States.
Used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is a fantastic oral detoxification procedure that is simply done by swishing a tablespoon of oil (typically coconut oil, olive or sesame oil) in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.
Oil pulling works by cleaning (detoxifying) the oral cavity in a similar way that soap cleans dirty dishes. It literally sucks the dirt (toxins) out of your mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic oral environment that contributes to the proper flow of dental liquid that is needed to prevent cavities and disease.
This unbelievably effective procedure has been used for centuries as a traditional India remedy to:
Most of us cannot even imagine what life would be like without brushing and flossing our teeth everyday. However, in the scheme of things, tooth brushing is relatively, new since nylon bristle toothbrushes didn’t become part of our normal American experience until the late 1930s!
It’s important to remember that, in spite of the fact that most people in American today were all raised with toothbrushes in our mouths, our ancestors didn’t brush their teeth with toothpaste for thousands of years. And, as far as archeological evidence Pyramides of Gizeh – Cairo, Egyptsuggests, most people throughout history lived until a ripe old age with most of their teeth intact and in a strong, healthy state.
Why didn’t their teeth rot?
Well, first of all, they ate real food and didn’t consume processed sugars and grains filled with phytic acid, which destroy tooth enamel. Secondly, they took care of their teeth through natural means like chew sticks that they rubbed against the teeth as has been found in Egyptian tombs dating to 3000 B.C. Third, depending on the culture and region of the world, many people also oil pulled.
Oil Pulling Research
coconut oil jarBy now, you’ve probably heard of the phrase “oil pulling.” Not quite a household name just yet, people in natural health circles are adopting the procedure as part of their daily regimen by the droves because of the hype that is being placed on it about it lately on the Internet.
To date, there are just 7 oil pulling research studies reporting on the health benefits of oil pulling. Although it is unfortunate that science has taken so long to take this ancient art seriously, it IS encouraging to see the literature database grow. I’m excited to read more as researchers catch on to how oil pulling can help transform someone’s life.
The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, for example, recently highlighted a study that reviewed holistic approaches to oral health and discovered that oil pulling is one of the most effective natural health solutions known to scientists that prevent tooth decay and loss. (1) Praised for curing more than 30 systemic diseases, the authors of this study have some profound things to say about this ancient natural healing practice:
“Oil pulling is a powerful detoxifying Ayurvedic technique that has recently become very popular as a CAM remedy for many different health ailments. Using this method, surgery or medication could be prevented for a number of chronic illnesses. The oil therapy is preventative as well as curative. The exciting aspect of this healing method is its simplicity.
Ayurveda advises oil gargling to purify the entire system; as it holds that each section of the tongue is connected to different organ such as to the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine, similarly to reflexology and TCM. (1)”
I really like this passage because it highlights how the detoxification effect that oil pulling has on the entire body reaches far beyond oral health. This is especially important for people who have conditions that contraindicate brushing such as mouth ulcer, fever, indigestion, those who have tendency to vomit, have asthma, cough, or thirst. (2)
In addition, I found these three studies showing how sesame seed oil pulling affects a wide range of oral health issues particularly helpful as I considered making it a part of my natural health regimen:dental hygiene
According to researchers from the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in Tamil Nadu, India, oil pulling reduces Streptococcus mutans bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay – in the plaque and saliva of children. (3) In the authors’ words, “Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.”
As uncovered by researchers from the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in Chennai India, oil pulling can significantly reduced aerobic microorganisms in plaque among children with plaque-induced gingivitis. (4)
From the same researchers in Chennai, oil pulling has been shown to be as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that may cause it. (5)
Why Coconut Oil is the Best Oil to Use
One important note to make is that the studies I referenced above only tested the effects that sesame seed oil had on patients who oil pulled. Being a staple in India, it’s no wonder why many Ayurvedic medicinal practitioners would naturally gravitate toward sesame. However, I would like to suggest using coconut oil instead.
Why?coconut oil on wooden spoon
Because coconut oil has been shown to:
Decrease Wrinkles and Age Spots
Balance Blood Sugar and Improve Energy
Increase HDL and Lower LDL Cholesterol
Because it is highly absorbable, you can experience many of these benefits simply by oil pulling!
Coconut Oil Pulling: How-To
This is how I like to do coconut oil pulling:
Make sure to oil pull first thing in the morning right after you get out of bed before you brush your teeth or drink anything.
Gently swish 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth and between your teeth for 10-20 minutes making sure that you don’t swallow any of the oil. (Do this gently so you don’t wear out your jaw and cheeks!)
Spit out the oil in the trash (not the sink so it doesn’t clog up the plumbing…ask me how I know) and immediately rinse your mouth out with warm water (use salt water for added antimicrobial properties).
Finally, brush your teeth as normal.
Voila, easy as that!
I recommend oil pulling 3-4x per week with coconut oil and also adding essential oils to your mixture.
Coconut Oil Pulling Guide
As you can see, oil pulling with coconut oil is a simple procedure with very effective results. If 10-20 minutes sounds like a long time simply do oil pulling while in the shower or while driving to work in the morning or while doing work around the house to help pass the time.
Here’s a Quick “How-to” Coconut Oil Pulling Video Demonstration:
Next I want to share with you how you can use essential oils to take your oil pulling benefits to a whole new level!
Essential oil and mint on green background close-upCoconut Oil Pulling with Essential Oils
Essential oils carry some of the most potent antibacterial and anti-fungal properties on the planet, and they can easy, and safely enhance the oil pulling experience. Additionally, as essential oils absorb into your oral mucosa, your body will enjoy the antioxidant and medicinal powers inherent in these potent compounds.
Here are two of my favorite ways to use essential oils during my morning oil pulling routine:
For everyday use: add 3 drops of wild orange, lemon and peppermint with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
When battling an infection or sickness: Change it up a bit and mix clove oil, cinnamon oil, or tea tree oil as a homeopathic remedy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s):
1. What age is good for oil pulling?
Sure! Since the oil swished around in the mouth and spit out, then there should be no harm in oil pulling even at a young age. Try a smaller amount of oil though, say about 1/2-1 teaspoon. You would want to make sure they are able to comfortably and it should be an enjoyable experience, not a dreaded one. If they don’t like it, and they need healing for their teeth, then I would focus on adjusting their diet to heal cavities naturally.
2. Can I pull oil if I have fillings?
According to the Coconut Research Center (6),
“Oil pulling will not and cannot loosen properly placed crowns or fillings. The only time oil pulling will affect crowns or fillings is if the teeth underneath have decayed and are full of infection. In this case, the foundation on which the crowns or fillings are secured to is badly decayed and unable to hold the dental material. Oil pulling removes bacteria, pus, and mucus. It cannot pull out porcelain, amalgam, or composite dental materials from the teeth.”
The only reason that a filling will become loose is if you have a rot or infection in the tooth. Then you will want to address this issue to keep the infection from spreading to your body.
3. Why do I have to oil pull in the morning?
You don’t. The best time to oil pull is in the morning on an empty stomach, but you can certainly try other times during the day or before eating.
4. Why do I have to oil pull for so long?
When you oil pull, you are actually using up the oil in the process of swishing the oil. It will become watery and sometimes milky after about 15 minutes. If you pull with less oil you may notice it change texture sooner, but you want to make sure you have enough oil to really clean your mouth and teeth.
5. How long does it take to see a difference with my teeth and mouth?
Within one week, most people notice a cleaner mouth and change in their breath. Within a month, some people have experienced dental repair or healthier gums.
6. Are there oil pulling side effects or symptoms?
– Every person is different. For some people they may have a release of mucous in their throat or nose as the swishing can release your sinuses and cause drainage. This is harmless, but if it is uncomfortable to you, then you may want to blow your nose before oil pulling.
– Also some people experience jaw soreness. If this happens, try swishing more gently and don’t pull between your teeth as hard, or maybe cut back a few minutes down to 8-10 minutes, and then build back up once you get adjusted to this exercise.
– Occasionally, oil pulling can trigger the gag reflex in some people. If this happens, then try leaning your head forward just slightly and using a little bit less oil. Also warming the oil a little can make it thinner and less likely to cause any gagging.
7. Can I oil pull while pregnant?
Because you spit out the toxins that are “pulled” out when swishing, there should not be any harm in oil pulling while pregnant. In fact, it can be a soothing way to clean your teeth if you experience any gum sensitivity.
I personally use the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil found here.
When you try coconut oil pulling, let me know what you think? Do you have any essential oils that you like?