Oil pulling is the process of swishing vegetable-based oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. It is more than just a passing fad because it has been practiced as an Ayurvedic body-detoxifying therapy for thousands of years.
Oil pulling can have a number of surprising benefits for those not familiar with it. I have personally tried it and I have experienced several dental and health benefits.
|The Benefits of Oil Pulling|
Photo credit: First Descents Organization
Benefits of Oil PullingOne of the direct benefits of oil pulling is the improvement of dental health. The benefits of oil pulling, however, can go beyond dental health because it may even improve overall health.
Most of the evidence presented here to support oil pulling's advantages are anecdotal, or from the testimonies of others, though some doctors and studies support the various positive effects of oil pulling.
Dental Health Benefits
- Less sensitive teeth. Oil pulling can decrease the sensitivity of your teeth by reducing plaque that causes tooth decay and by restoring the natural ph levels of your mouth. On ph levels: "When the mouth pH is 7.1 or higher, there is no tooth decay. Corresponding to the healthier mouth environment, not conducive to tooth decay, is a lesser number of bacteria in the mouth."
- Whiter teeth. Testimonials, such as from Dr. Mercola and Wellness Mama, show that oil pulling has whitened their teeth. A more specific and direct explanation for the teeth-whitening effect of oil pulling remains under-researched, however.
- Stronger gums. Oil pulling can improve the health of your gums through curbing bacterial growth that can weaken it.
- Reduces plaque. Several types of vegetable oil (such as coconut oil) have antibacterial properties that can kill bacteria which cause plaque buildup.
- Cure gingivitis. Strengthening gums and teeth through oil pulling can cure gingivitis.
Other Health Benefits
- Detoxifies the body. Oil pulling can clean the body's toxins. Dr. Bruce Fife offers an interesting metaphor for oil pulling: "The oil acts like a cleanser. When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it 'pulls' out bacteria and other debris. It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean. Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer."
- Alleviates pain and other symptoms related to several illnesses. Some sources showed that oil pulling can alleviate pain and other symptoms related to asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, diabetes, migraine headaches, PMS, and chronic skin problems, among other illnesses. A possible explanation is that when the body is cleansed through oil pulling, bacterial and stress-related causes of these illnesses may be removed.
How to do Oil Pulling
Ingredient:Any type of vegetable oil: Sunflower and sesame seed oils are some of the most widely used oils for oil pulling, but some people prefer olive, coconut, almond, and other oils.
Note: I prefer virgin coconut oil because it is a local Philippine product and cheaper and more accessible than sunflower and sesame seed oil. I like the taste of virgin coconut oil better than other oils too. Also, virgin coconut oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal benefits.
Instructions: How to do Oil Pulling
- Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil.
- Swish the oil around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. The duration of oil pulling is important because it takes 15 to 20 minutes for the oil to break plaque and bacteria, but not long enough for them to be re-absorbed into the mouth. Do not swallow or gargle the oil because it is full of toxins and bacteria. Swish the oil, pulling from and drawing it to your teeth, tongue, and gums.
- Spit the oil after into your trash can or outside (soil in your garden) to avoid clogging sinks or drains, especially when you live in areas with cold climates.
- Rinse with warm water very well. You can brush your teeth after oil pulling too if you want.
Best Time for Oil PullingAccording to Dr. Fife, oil pulling is best done before eating or drinking anytime of the day. It can be done once or thrice a day on an empty stomach.
Passing Time: Twenty-Minute HabitsMultitaskers might have a hard time accepting that 20 minutes of mere oil swishing is worth it. On my part, I do something else while oil pulling. Some suggested activities are:
- Oil pulling while watching the news.
- Oil pulling while preparing food.
- Oil pulling while taking a shower.
- Oil pulling while reading news online.
- Oil pulling while reading and commenting to news feeds in G+, Facebook, Twitter and the like.
- Oil pulling while doing research for our blogs.
When oil pulling is done with other activities, time will fly faster.
Some Possible Initial Side Effects
- mild congestion
- mucus drainage
Dr. Fife explains that these effects may be some of the initial effects of detoxification: "These symptoms will subside as your body becomes cleaner and you become more comfortable with oil pulling."
I have actually experienced a slight headache during my first oil pulling, but I no longer experience it. Some family members have allergies, so they experienced mucus buildup during oil pulling, but these effects subsided after continued use. They attest that they experience fewer symptoms of their allergies when oil pulling.
Oil Pulling: Swishing towards Health and ConfidenceOil pulling is now a part of my morning routine, especially since my mother already knows how to make coconut oil, and I'm feeling the benefits of oil pulling.
Pull oil, not legs, and the impact is the same- a better effect on people you are talking with because of the confidence and good feeling that come from a bright smile, fresh breath, and detoxified body.
Have you tried oil pulling? What do you do to kill time while killing bacteria and toxins through oil pulling?