Oil pulling is the process of swishing a natural oil around in your mouth for a certain length of time to kill bacteria, before spitting it out. It’s an old Ayurvedic Indian medicine tradition that dates back more than three thousand years. While many people are skeptical of natural home remedies, oil pulling is backed up by science, and many dentists recommend giving it a try to improve overall oral health.
The oil used in the mouth must be food grade, and often coconut, sunflower, and sesame oils are used. Some people recommend that coconut oil is best, but it depends on the individual and I personally use organic coconut oil I buy in bulk. If you don’t like the taste of one of the oils, give the other one a try.
Some studies suggest that coconut oil is beneficial in preventing tooth decay, while the other oils don’t have that distinction. Coconut oil also starts out in solid form, so it may be easier to swish in your mouth. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial benefits.
The mouth is full of microorganisms. Some are beneficial to our health, while others cause bad breath (gingivitis), cavities, and sores. The organisms living in our mouth are simple, single celled ones. When we swish oil around in our mouth, this oil captures these organisms.
Generally it’s recommended that oil pulling is done for twenty minutes. After that length of time, the oil is spit out of the mouth. The mouth can then be rinsed out with warm water if the person desires.
With the oil that gets spat out are all those harmful microorganisms that were in your mouth. It’s not only a natural way of freshening your breath, but can also help to prevent tooth decay.
Some may wonder why we don’t rinse our mouths out with something like hydrogen peroxide if we’re so scared of microorganisms. But those substances, along with mouthwash, can actually kill the beneficial bacteria in the mouth. Oil pulling does not kill organisms, it simply removes them, and leaves a natural balance in your mouth.
To get started with oil pulling, it’s recommended to swish for twenty minutes. A whole 20 minutes can be a challenge at the beginning… it can wear out your jaw muscles at first. Try Starting with two minutes, and add on extra minutes for each day of the week. Oil pulling is safe for everyday usage, or once a week. Be gentle with your swishing—you don’t want a sore face after you’ve done it.
To begin swishing, you’ll move the oil around in your mouth, and suck it in and out of your teeth. Don’t swallow it. As you swish, you’ll find that more saliva is added to the mix.
It’s recommended to spit the oil into a small disposable cup, and dispose in the garbage, as the oil can clog up your sink’s pipes.
You’ll still need to do your regular oral care such as brushing and flossing. Oil pulling is not meant to replace these chores.
Oil pulling is an effective way to maintain good oral health, and it’s simple and inexpensive to do. I started oil pulling daily January 1st. I’ve noticed my teeth are whiter, my breath is less offensive, and my teeth feel smoother. Its crazy how one simple and healthy change can make such a difference!
If you’ve got questions about oil pulling I’d love to answer them, if I can! Send me an email at [email protected] and if I don’t know the answer I’ll forward your email to my health coach. Kelli is the one that encouraged me to try adding oil pulling to my routine and I’m so glad I listened!