Oil pulling, by Wikipedia definition, is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth. Ayurvedic literature describes oil pulling as capable of both improving oral health and treating various ailments. While no medical research can solidify these claims, the amount of information available online definitely supports it. Here are a few of the numerous claimed benefits of oil pulling:
- Strengthening of teeth, gums and jaw
- Whitening of teeth
- Oral problem prevention—cavities and gingivitis
- Prevention of bad breath
- Relief of migraines and headaches
- Reduction of inflammation of arthritis
- Normal kidney function support
- Potential improved vision
- Relief from sinus congestion
- Increase in energy
- Clear skin
- Regulated menstrual cycles
- Helps detoxify the body of harmful metals and organisms
- Reduced hangover symptoms
- Helps with better sleep quality/reducing insomnia
- Choose an oil. Olive Oil is very popular, because of its tolerable taste. However, lots of people suggest that Avocado and Sesame have been shown to be effective. One tablespoon of oil is recommended, however I suggest starting with a teaspoon and working your way up to a tablespoon.
- Swish the oil. Slosh it around your mouth, through your teeth, aiming to reach all areas. One thing I found helpful was to floss my teeth beforehand. This made it easier to “suck” the oil between my teeth. You’ll find that this is quite a jaw/neck workout, and it takes some getting used to. Swish for up to 20 minutes, but again, building up time is almost necessary. I found that I could only last for 3-5 minutes for the first few times I tried it.
- Spit. It’s important that you spit the oil into the toilet or trash, as it can clog drains in the shower or sink. I like to spit mine into a small cup and dump it in the trash. I found it most comfortable to rinse my mouth out with warm water afterwards, and then brush my teeth shortly after.
Oil Pulling Tips:
- Research suggests that oil pulling be done in the morning, on an empty stomach. This creates a more thorough detox.
- Some people suggest oil pulling while you’re in the shower. This is when I found it to be easiest, as it fits into my schedule. You could also do it while watching TV, making breakfast or really any time you see fit.
- If the taste is what’s keeping you from oil pulling, try adding some mint extract to the oil. I put 2-3 drops of peppermint extract in ½ tablespoon, and it was a much more pleasant experience.
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