What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling, also called oil swishing, is a simple and cost effective way to maintain oral and overall health. An ancient technique, oil pulling is gaining massive popularity among people who want to take control over their health.
The ingredients are simple: all you need is a natural oil, such as sesame or coconut oil, and some salt water made with sea salt. How you use these ingredients is even simpler. You pull, or swish, the oil around your mouth, spit it out, and rinse with salt water. The best part about oil pulling is the benefits.
Oil Pulling Benefits
People have reported a great of benefits to oil pulling on a daily basis. These range from reduced headaches and asthma symptoms to, my personal favorite, a hangover remedy. Other well-known benefits include:
- removes teeth stains
- improves receding gum lines
- decreases bad breath
- helps remove and loosen debris between teeth
- reduces plaque
- heals plaque-induced gingivitus
- reduces allergy symptoms
- helps prevent tooth decay
- improves sinus problems
- heals bleeding gums
- reduces headaches and migraines
- natural teeth whitener
- no side effects
I began oil pulling a few years ago. I was suffering from painful, receding gum lines and began researching the subject online. I came across an article on the benefits of oil pulling and decided to try it out. After the first week of practicing oil pulling every morning, my gums were less sore. A month later, my gums were no longer receded. I also noticed that some of the coffee stains on the back of my teeth were completely gone and my teeth were so much whiter than they had been. Since then, oil pulling has become a regular morning ritual in my home.
History of Oil Pulling
Many wonderful remedies have come from the Sanskrit texts of ancient India, including oil pulling. Research shows that it is an ancient Ayurvedic practice dating back to around 1500 BC. Oil pulling is believed to help detox the mouth, the body, and, ultimately, improve your overall health.
The process of swishing oil around the mouth and between the teeth was anciently believed to pull toxins directly out of the body. The Sanskrit texts listed numerous illnesses that could be prevented or cured by oil pulling. When practitioners were finished swishing, they would carefully spit the oil out their mouths for fear that it contained actual poison pulled from the body.
Oil pulling was brought out of obscurity in the 1990s after a series of articles were written on the practice. The articles were published in several languages, including English, and the practice has since grown in use.
People use many different natural oils for oil pulling. The most traditional oil used for swishing is sesame oil. I use sesame oil for oil pulling because I was able to find it in the grocery store. The taste is stronger than other oils, but, after a few uses, I was able to get used to the sesame flavor. Sesame oil has been shown to reduce plaque and oral bacteria.
Extra virgin coconut oil is now believed to be the best oil for oil pulling. It has a light, coconut flavor that many people enjoy. Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory, enzymatic, and antimicrobial properties. It helps kill bacteria in your mouth, including Streptococcus mutans, the main bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Olive oil can also be used for oil pulling. It’s a common oil and easier to find and purchase in the grocery store.
Use Extra Virgin Oils
When deciding on which oil to use, always purchase oils that are labeled extra virgin. Extra virgin oils are made by a process of cold pressing. Unlike refined oils that are heated and chemically bleached, extra virgin oils contain natural, beneficial nutrients that help maintain your health.
Oil Pulling Method
It can be difficult to add a new habit to your daily, morning ritual, so your first step is to make the process as simple as possible. Purchase a bottle of the oil you want to use and keep it in the bathroom. If you must, put a post-it note on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself to start your day off with oil pulling.
You need to do oil pulling first thing in the morning and on an empty stomach, for best results. Put one tablespoon of oil into your mouth and swirl the oil around, being careful not to swallow it. Swish and pull the oil through your teeth. Do not gargle the oil because it may cause you to swallow some of the oil. Continue to swirl and swish the oil for up to 20 minutes. When you are finished, spit it out. If you are using coconut oil, do not spit it into the sink because it may harden and clog your drains. Rinse your mouth out with salt water to remove any loose toxins still on your tongue and gums.
Oil Pulling Tips
- If one tablespoon of oil is too much, decrease the amount to a comfortable level.
- Should your mouth become sore while swishing, relax your jaw muscles and swish the oil around more gently.
- If at any time during your pulling session you feel the urge to swallow the oil, spit it out instead. Swallowing a small amount of oil will not harm you, but a large amount will contain more of the toxins from your mouth.
- If you are unable to continue to pull the oil for the full 20 minutes, spit it out as soon as your mouth becomes tired. Over time, you will be able to increase the length of your oil pulling sessions. For my first few oil pulls, I was only able to swish the oil around for about 5 minutes. As I continued doing it on a daily basis, I was able to increase my time to the full 20 minutes.
- Do it in the shower. If you don’t want to stand around for 20 minutes swishing oil, simply take a shower while you are doing it.
- When you spit the oil out, it should be white or close to white. If it is not, you did not swish the oil around for a long enough time. Repeat the process.
- Brush and floss your teeth after you are finished oil pulling. Oil pulling is not an alternative to brushing and flossing.
Jacobs, A. (2014). The Health Wonders of Oil Pulling Therapy: The Ayurvedic oral cleansing practice is the next big thing. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Usman, M., & Davidson, J. (2014). Oil Pulling: The magic of ancient era. JD-Biz Corp Publishing.