Oil Pulling Guide
Oil Pulling is an ancient technique which involves swishing oil around in your mouth to “pull” toxins from the body.
Oil pulling sounds weird. But does it actually work?
Find out today in our complete guide to oil pulling.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is a type of Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medical treatment dating back over 3,000 years. Today, oil pulling is making a comeback.
Oil pulling involves swishing one tablespoon of oil (sunflower, coconut, and sesame oil are all popular) around your mouth for 20 minutes and then spitting it out.
Unlike some ancient Ayurvedic techniques, oil pulling has been proven to work. According to WebMD.com, oil pulling can be used to reduce the effects of gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath.
How Does Oil Pulling Work?
Our mouth is filled with microorganisms. These microorganisms do a lot of different things: they help us digest food, for example. They build plaque on our teeth, cause gum disease, and give us bad breath.
Most of the harmful microorganisms, however, have one thing in common: they consist of just a single cell. This cell is covered with a fatty membrane (lipid) designed to protect the cell against your body’s natural defenses.
When you swish oil around inside your mouth, the oil molecules adhere to the fatty membrane of the harmful microorganism cells. When you spit out that oil after 20 minutes of washing, the harmful microorganisms leave the body too.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Here are some of the benefits commonly associated with oil pulling:
— Whiter Teeth
— Reduced Risk Of Gingivitis And Cavities
— Better Breath
— Effective Treatment For Halitosis
— Reduced Jaw Pain (Which Is Why Oil Pulling Is Particularly Popular For Those With TMJ Sufferers)
— Reduced Sleep Problems And Sinus Issues
— Reduced Severity Of Headaches, Hangovers, And Skin Problems
How to Start Oil Pulling
Interested in oil pulling to clean your mouth? The process of oil pulling is ridiculously simple: just grab a tablespoon, measure out your favorite oil, and swish it inside your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out.
Sesame oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil are the most commonly-used oils. You can find all oils at your local grocery store.
Now that the obvious parts are out of the way, here are some other things to consider about oil pulling:
— Use Coconut Oil: Sunflower oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil are largely the same when it comes to cleaning harmful mouth bacteria out of the body. However, coconut oil has the unique advantage of lauric acid. Lauric acid has additional anti-microbial properties that can enhance the effects of oil pulling. Recent studies have also shown that coconut oil delays the onset of tooth decay.
— Start with 5 Minutes Per Day: Swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes on your first go can be difficult. It’s a new sensation and new taste. Start with a less ambitious target of 5 minutes per session. Then, as you become more comfortable, continue working your way upward. The longer you pull, the more bacteria you’ll remove.
— Don’t Swish Too Hard: One “rookie move” for new oil pullers is to swish the oil around their mouths like Listerine. This can be difficult on your mouth muscles and cause your jaw to ache. Don’t work too hard when pulling. Slow down, swish, push, and suck the oil through your teeth using a gentle motion.
— Avoid Swallowing: Avoid swallowing the oil. If you feel the need to swallow the oil, you’re probably using too much oil. Spit out a little bit of the oil until you’re comfortable, or spit it all out and try again.
— Avoid Spitting Oil Into your Sink: Spitting oil down your sink could clog up your pipes – especially if you start doing it every day. Spit your oil into the nearest trash can when you’re done.
— Continue Brushing and Flossing your Teeth as Normal: Oil pulling isn’t a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should still brush and floss as normal. Continue going to your regularly-scheduled dental checkups. Oil pulling works best as a supplemental dental therapy – not a primary solution.
Scientific Evidence for Oil Pulling
Normally, when you see terms like “natural treatment” and “Ayurvedic medicine” being tossed around, it means the treatment is backed by limited scientific evidence.
That’s not the case with oil pulling. This ancient Ayurvedic technique has been supported by modern science.
One landmark study from November 2014 involved 60 students. Students were separated into three groups: one group took sesame oil using oil pulling techniques, another group took chlorhexidine, and a final group was a control group.
By the end of the study, researchers concluded that, “Oil pulling with sesame oil is equally efficacious as chlorhexidine in reducing oral malodor and microbes causing it. It should be promoted as a preventive home care therapy.”
Other studies have reinforced these results. At the time of writing, PubMed.gov listed 25 published studies featuring the keyword “oil pulling”.
Should You Try Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is a safe, natural technique. It can be used to whiten teeth, reduce your risk of cavities, and even reduce the severity of hangovers.
If you’re trying oil pulling for the first time, use one tablespoon of oil and gently swish it around your mouth. While some people will do the full 20 minute session on their first try, most people won’t last longer than 5 or 10 minutes.