It seems “oil pulling” has tipped over into the mainstream media. I’ve been hearing about it everywhere from ABC News articles to E! News. Oil pulling is something I’ve been practicing for about a year and a half, but it’s one of those strange things I didn’t want tell anyone about. Now that it’s becoming a little more mainstream, I think it’s a good time to dispel any unwarranted hype and explain the real benefits.
What is oil pulling?
“Oil pulling, or the practice of swishing oil around your mouth every day, has roots in Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic system of medicine that developed 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.” Huffington Post
The idea is to swish oil around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes to kill bacteria. It is said to “pull” bacteria out of crevices and into the oil.
Beneficial claims of oil pulling:
-Kill bacteria + bad breath
-Strengthen teeth + gums
-Prevention of mouth-related diseases such as gingivitis and cavities
-Prevent dryness in mouth, lips + throat
-Aid in curing heart disease and chronic illnesses
-Possible holistic treatment for TMJ and general soreness in the jaw area
-Prevent dry mouth
Other possible benefits of oil pulling for overall health include: (foodmatters.tv)
• Migraine headache relief
• Correcting hormone imbalances
• Reducing inflammation of arthritis
• May help with gastro-enteritis
• Aids in the reduction of eczema
• May reduce symptoms of bronchitis
• Helps support normal kidney function
• May help reduce sinus congestion
• Some people report improved vision
• Helps reduce insomnia
• Reduced hangover after alcohol consumption
• Aids in reducing pain
• Reduces the symptoms of allergies
• Helps detoxify the body of harmful metals and organisms
-A Huffington Post article states, “According to the handful of published clinical trials out there, oil pulling is an effective way to kill some forms of mouth bacteria, including bacteria associated with bad breath and gingivitis. But what about all those claims that oil pulling can prevent heart disease or cancer? While there is an established link between oral health and chronic illness, oil pulling’s effects on other areas of the body beside the mouth have yet to be proven.”
–Foodmatters.tv claims, “these studies showed an overall reduction of bacteria from 10 to 33.4% in participants, and after 40 days of oil-pulling, participants were found to show 20% in average reduction in oral bacteria. Moreover, half of all participants in this case study showed a drastic reduction in susceptibility to dental caries.”
I generally only oil pull when I have a cold. It works very well to clear my sinuses!
How to Oil Pull:
1. Choose your oil. You can choose extra virgin cold pressed coconut, sunflower or olive oil. Many prefer coconut oil.
2. Use about 1-2 tbsp
3. Swish around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes until the liquid is white and cloudy (Ugh, I know. Typing that was painful enough). You might have to work your way up to 20 minutes until you get used to it. Don’t do it much longer than 20 minutes because you don’t want the bacteria to be re-absorbed by your mouth.
4. Don’t swallow! The oil will be full of bacteria. Spit into a trash can so you don’t clog your sink.
5. Rinse your mouth with water, then brush your teeth to remove remaining bacteria.
6. Tip: the shower is a good place to oil pull. The warmth will help open your sinuses, the timing is right, and you’ll be distracted so you won’t focus as much on the taste.
Have you tried oil pulling? Share your experience in the comments!