Oil pulling is a method of drawing out toxins from your mouth by swishing a small amount of oil in your mouth for a short period of time. This method originated in India as a part of Ayurvedic medicine. It is said to be an effective way of drawing out toxins, bacteria, viruses, and yeast from your mouth. The oil attracts these organisms and toxins, which you then spit out.
I stumbled upon this method of detoxing that I now incorporate into my detox regimen. To be honest, it seemed kind of silly to do at first. Apart from the fact that I felt pretty ridiculous swishing oil in my mouth for 20+ minutes, I questioned whether such a simple process could have dramatic effects on my health. There are a lot of claims being made about certain protocols and foods that not surprisingly turn out to be 90% hype. I figured that the best way to verify the validity of many of the health claims some of these internet quacks promote is by doing my own research and using myself as a guinea pig. Let’s take a look at some of oil pulling’s health benefits.
Studies have shown that oil pulling helps:
– Break up plaque and calculus buildup
– Speed up the healing of cuts in the mouth
-Get rid of gingivitis and is as effective as chlorhexidine
-Improve overall oral health
Other Possible Benefits Reported:
-Some have reported getting rid of arthritis
-Some claim that it helps with asthma
-Assists in resolving skin problems
-Helps relieve colds
-Helps get rid of pimples
-Helps with chronic headaches
-Helps with sore ankles and joints
-Removes stains from teeth
-Prevent dryness of throat
-Prevent cracked lips
Types of Oil to Use:
Use unrefined coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil. Personally, I like to use coconut oil because I like the taste, and it has a bunch of other health benefits such as being a natural anti-bacterial. I would be wary of using olive oil, as some users have reported a yellowing of their teeth after prolonged use. Olive oil also has a strong taste that many tend to dislike.
Amount of Oil:
Use 2 Teaspoons of oil.
When to Oil Pull:
Do it in the morning on an empty stomach before brushing your teeth. Use about 2 teaspoons of oil and swish it in your mouth for 20 minutes or until the oil becomes a thin white foam.
Oil pull daily, up to 3 times a day.
Essential Oils (optional):
Essential oils like peppermint or cinnamon can be added to improve the taste as well. You only need a drop, as these oils are highly concentrated. Feel free to try more, but a drop does the trick for me.
Spit it in the trashcan when done. Make sure to spit it in the trash, otherwise the oil may clog your drains over time.
After oil pulling, brush your teeth and thoroughly rinse your mouth.
Do not swallow the oil because that is where all the toxins, bacteria, and other germs are contained, which are drawn from your blood and saliva. If you do accidentally swallow it, there’s no need to freak out. It’s not going to kill you. Still, it’s best to spit it out so that you don’t ingest all of the gunk.
*Children can do this as well, but they shouldn’t swallow it either. Give them 1-2 teaspoons. Because of their limited attention span, have them do it for up to 5 minutes unless they don’t mind doing it longer. It might be a good idea to not use essential oils when giving it to children because it might increase the temptation to swallow. Just a thought.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci
Oil pulling is such a simple way to promote good oral hygiene, as well as providing a lot of other benefits. In an increasingly complex world, it’s easy to forget that in many cases, simplicity is better. Personally, I just do it in the morning while getting ready for work. The first thing I noticed was the obvious improvement in my oral health. Plaque buildup was easily removed, and my gums became pinker as well.
Considering the fact that the mouth is one of, if not the most dirtiest parts of the body, oil pulling seems to be a simple, yet cost-effective addition to your detoxification arsenal. Give it a try for a week or so and see if you can notice any health improvements. You owe it to yourself! What do you have to lose?
S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models. Asia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug.
Asokan S, Kumar RS, Emmadi P, Raghuraman R, Sivakumar N. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2011 Apr-Jun;29(2):90-4. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.84678. PubMed PMID: 21911944.
Asokan S, Rathinasamy TK, Inbamani N, Menon T, Kumar SS, Emmadi P, Raghuraman R.Mechanism of oil-pulling therapy – in vitro study. Indian J Dent Res. 2011 Jan-Feb;22(1):34-7. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.79971. PubMed PMID: 21525674.
Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res. 2009 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51. PubMed PMID: 19336860.