The first time I tried oil pulling, I was at the end of my rope. I had been fighting a disgusting cold for weeks and the coughing and congestion was killing my joie de vivre completely. I was SO OVER IT. I took to Twitter to vent about my ongoing illness and was offered a barrage of helpful (and not so helpful) advice. One of my Twitter friends – @Yolioliya of Yoli’s Green Living suggested I try oil pulling. And I was all like “Oil pulling, what’s that?” Yoli wrote all about it on her blog and put me up on game. Check out her post about it. Yoli convinced me to try it and after a week or so of consistent, daily oil pulling I could tell my illness was on the way out. I became an oil pulling evangelist.
Oil pulling is nothing new, from what I have read, it’s been a part of Indian Ayurvedic culture since the Charaka Samhita, which has been dated back to the Gupta period, 300-500 CE. A LONG time ago. Wikipedia defines it like this – The practitioner rinses the mouth with approximately one tablespoon of oil (sesame and sunflower oils are the most recommended) for 15–20 minutes on an empty stomach (before eating/drinking) then spits it out.
That’s it and that’s all.
I’ll admit, I can’t swish oil around my mouth for THAT long. If oil pulling requires that kind of endurance, I fail. I generally try to make it to two minutes and then repeat two or three times. I pull the oil through my teeth and around my tongue and mouth, making sure it doesn’t touch or go down my throat. Then I spit and spit and spit some more. Repeat as necessary. Even though I only can successfully oil pull for short periods of time, here’s what I’m doing and here’s my results.
I started oil pulling again because I recently had to endure ongoing, not-fun-at-all dental work. Cavities, gum issues, tooth pain, no bueno. My plaque situation was at a critical level and I was prescribed a medical rinse that could best be described as foul. This stuff comes with a warning that it might stain your teeth and will affect the flavor of things you eat – not just immediately after rinsing, but in general. YUCK. I was waking up with the taste of this horrible chemical rinse in my mouth, even after the dentist told me I could stop using it. My tongue was discolored. My breath was awful and regular mouthwash wasn’t helping me to get rid of the flavor of the medicated mouthwash. When I looked up ways to improve the flavor of your mouth and color of your tongue, the internet led me back to oil pulling.
When I did more research into oil pulling, I noticed that oral hygiene is a major factor for folks who try it, and online, oil pulling has been said to benefit people with everything from halitosis to cavities and abscesses. For more on oil pulling, oral hygiene, bacteria, and the supposed benefits to immunity, read Jon Barron’s exhaustive post on the subject. The breakdown in that article is informative and very helpful.
Within days of restarting an oil pulling regimen, I noticed a difference. My tongue didn’t look stained by mouthwash anymore. Neither did my teeth – in fact, they looked cleaner and whiter. When I woke up in the morning my breath didn’t smell awful and my mouth didn’t taste like chemicals. In fact, my morning breath was becoming more like regular everyday breath – not bad at all. I noticed that flossing was easier and more productive – bits of food that might have required hard work to remove rinsed out easily. And if I felt at all phlegmy, oil pulling helped me regulate that ASAP.
It’s been maybe two or three weeks, and the difference is REAL. I’ve been using virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil (my brand of choice right now is Kelapo Coconut Oil, I use it on my hair, my skin, and now in my mouth). Untoasted sesame oil and sunflower oil are supposed to be the most beneficial and my plan is to run out to Whole Foods or look online for some very pure sesame or sunflower oil next, and a tongue scraper as well.
That’s been my oil pulling experience. So far it’s been great and I’ve noticed real differences. I actually look forward to doing it every morning. Of course everything isn’t for everyone and I’ve heard from several folks who say oil pulling made them nauseous, or didn’t work, or seems like it wouldn’t be truly beneficial, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. For example, it didn’t work for this blogger at Simple Homemade. But it worked for me!
So I wanna hear from YOU. Have you tried oil pulling before? What are your thoughts, what’s your experience, and what’s your advice for folks who are curious?