Over the past few years I have heard a lot about oil pulling as a form of detoxification but never quite thought that swishing oil in my mouth would be that effective. Oil pulling is an Ayruvedic practice of pulling cold-pressed oil (like sesame oil) through your teeth for between 10-20 minutes in the morning. The idea is that the oil is supposed to stimulate the eliminatory system while “pulling” bacteria and toxins out of the saliva. You then proceed to spit the oil and toxins out, causing a cleansing effect for the whole body.
You can read all over the internet all of the conditions that it “cures” but there seems to be only one scientific study done on oil pulling. The study was done in an Indian Dental Journal and studied the effect of oil pulling on the bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) in plaque and saliva of children. The researchers found a reduction in the bacteria count in the plaque and saliva samples in both the study and the control groups and concluded that oil pulling can help maintain oral health. So that sounded promising…
I had been dealing with receding gums and a slightly coated tongue for while now, so I thought this might be the perfect time to try oil pulling. As any good nutritionist would, I committed to doing it once every morning for a full month to see what effects it had not only my gums and mouth, but for my body as a whole. The following is a little timeline of my experiences:
First Day: I get up at 6:00 am, go straight to the bathroom and pour a heaping tablespoon of sesame oil in my mouth and swish. Then pull, then swish again…. 20 minutes is longer than I thought… swish again. Think to myself, I definitely need to bring a book in next time. 15 minutes goes by, oil gets thicker, jaw gets a little tired. Pull, swish, pull. 20 minutes. Spit oil out into the toilet, it looks clumped up, flush. Brush teeth. Notice they feel nice and clean.
First Week: Repeat process, but this time bring in my recent read “Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Perfect time to catch up on reading.
End of First Week: Notice that the coating on my tongue is completely gone. Excited, but cannot come to a conclusive decision until it remains gone for at least another week. Teeth are definitely feeling cleaner, definitely less plaque.
Second Week: Becoming very used to the swishing and pulling… easier to forget about it for the 20 minutes. Time goes by quickly. Coating on tongue is still gone, no sign of its return… so check. Redness in face has subsided quite a bit. Didn’t really notice it there in the first place, but now realizing that my skin is looking much more even. Great News.
Third Week: Master of swishing, have improved swishing and pulling capabilities by ten fold! Gums are still receded, but are no longer inflamed or irritated. When I floss, there is no bleeding, no pain. Awesome! Things must be healing.
Fourth Week: Love love love the oil pulling. Teeth look clean and bright, tongue is light pink, gums are not irritated and sensitive, and skin looks great!
After testing oil pulling for over a few months now, I must say that it is an excellent addition to your detoxification and dental program. While I cannot tell you that it cures all of the ailments that they claim, it is most definitely effective. So much so that I continue to do it about four times a week. The great part is that you also will no longer have to use those toxic mouth washes either.
Oil pulling is one of the cheapest, easiest forms of detoxification and I think it is a really great place for people to start. All you have to do is put 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed sesame oil in your mouth first thing in the morning (no drinking or eating). Tilt your chin up and slowly swish, and pull through the teeth. Do this for at least 10 minutes. 15 – 20 minutes is better. You want the oil to become a thin, white foam when you finally spit it out. If the oil is still yellow, you haven’t done it long enough.
The oil will start to thin out after a few minutes because saliva is constantly being mixed in and swished about. The longer you swish, the more saliva will be produced, filling your mouth. When finished, spit it out in the toilet, so it doesn’t clog your sink drain. It is important to rinse your mouth out well.
What oil to use?
I always recommend using high-quality, organic oil such as sesame or coconut oil. Traditionally, sesame oil is used, but coconut oil can be a good substitute if needed. When buying sesame oil, make sure it comes in a dark bottle. The dark bottle protects the oil from sunlight damage, ensuring that the oil is fresh and therapeutic. My personal favorite is Organic Sesame Oil by Banyan Botanicals.