If you guys follow me on the Insta, you know I was doing one month of oil pulling in August. I have often tried oil pulling on and off for years now, usually only lasting max 4 days, then stopping for whatever reason. I have read the benefits so many times, and wanted to give it a serious go to see if there was really any legitimacy behind the art of oil pulling. First let’s dive in and go to the basics- how to oil pull, what are the alleged health benefits of pulling, and last, what was my conclusion on pulling, and will I continue to do it as part of my daily routine? Read on friends!
What is oil pulling, and how do you do it?
SO. Oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic practice where one swishes, or holds oil in the mouth for a period of time in order to “pull” toxins from the mouth and the body. It is actually a commonly overlooked area of our bodies, but our mouths, gums, teeth, and tongue can really tell us a TON about what is going on in our bodies. Certain discolorations on the tongue can mean weakness of a particular organ, or bad breath can indicate dehydration of the body. Our mouths host a large amount of bacteria that we take in through the food we eat, the utensils we put our mouths on, or the products we use on our lips. The thought is that these bacteria make their way through our system and into our gut, which houses 80% of our immune system. By oil pulling, you are helping to remove, or “pull” these toxins and bacteria from your mouth, therefore preventing them from entering your gut. Through doing this, it is said that oil pulling has huge benefits, which include:
- Reduced headaches
- Healthy gums and teeth
- Healthy sinuses
- Healthier skin, and reduction in acne
- Improved energy
- Relaxed jaw and neck muscles
- Improved respiratory health
- Whitening of teeth
- Reduction of bad breath
How does this practice work then? All you need is one of these oils-sesame, sunflower, or coconut oil. Sesame is the traditional oil to use, but I chose coconut oil because I always have it in my house, so it was the most readily available. The best time of day to oil pull is first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Take a tablespoon of your oil of choice, and swish it in your mouth, between your teeth, around your tongue, for 20 minutes. Feel free to start with 5 minutes and work your way up if you are new to this practice, it can take awhile to get used to the feeling of having oil in your mouth, I promise though, if you keep up this practice, it won’t bother you as much and you will enjoy the practice, 20 minutes will fly by. When you are done, spit the oil out in the garbage can, not the sink as it can clog your drain. Do not swallow the oil. It is full of toxins and bacteria that have been pulled from your mouth. Rinse your mouth out with warm water, and follow with a brushing.
What was my experience with oil pulling?
I loved this ritual. I have been wanting to add oil pulling to my daily routine for a long time now, but had trouble committing to it. By sharing it with everyone on Instagram it held me accountable to stick to it for a month (give or take, I definitely missed a couple days here and there!) Right away, I noticed that it made my teeth and entire mouth feel squeaky clean pretty much all day. I felt like my teeth continued to feel smoother and fresher the longer I pulled as well. I also chose to brush my teeth with a powdered charcoal toothpaste that I had bought that was supposed to whiten teeth. I loved using this powdered toothpaste instead of my regular paste because the minty flavor was not overpowering, so after I pulled and brushed, I could still enjoy my matcha and breakfast without that lingering toothpaste taste going on. As for coconut oil, my favorite coconut oil to use for pulling is Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil. I love the flavor, the taste, and the price is right for a pretty big sized jar. If you are looking to find a coconut oil that you will love, please check out this site to aid you in making the best decision on what coconut oil to buy for yourself. My friends over at reviews.com made sure to include not only what coconut oils were the best, but also which ones are actually fair trade, and ethically sourced (which is something that is so important!), as well as how they stood up in cooking AND hair and skin tests. It is a fabulous and informative read, check it out here to read more about finding the best coconut oil.
So what did I notice from oil pulling? DEFINITELY whiter teeth. I felt like it was a subtle difference, but it was there. I imagine that the longer I continue this practice that the whiter my teeth will get. I also noticed more energy. I felt like after I pulled I had sustained energy throughout the day, which was one of the benefits I researched could happen. The biggest takeaway for myself was a major decrease in my sensitive teeth. I’ve always been stuck using specific toothpaste for sensitive teeth and I wanted a way to get away from that rut (also because it is so hard to find a sensitivity toothpaste that’s fluoride free). Well, this was IT. Oil pulling reduced my sensitivity so much so that I haven’t had any pain with super tart fruit or ice since starting pulling. I am back to using regular toothpaste and I couldn’t be happier. One downside that I noticed was that I felt like I was experiencing more headaches than normal (in the beginning) and my face broke out. BUT I do know these are very standard detoxification symptoms, and after the first week and a half, the headaches subsided and my breakout started to heal. Like I said, I plan on continuing this practice, and I am curious to see if I do it for longer, if my skin heals even more. I’ve always been prone to blackheads and some hormonal acne, so if this practice can truly heal my skin more then I am allllll for that. I also loved how by pulling first thing in the morning, it was a guaranteed quiet time for myself. I took the first 20 minutes of the day, and I used that time to meditate, or make my matcha, or tidy my house while I pulled.
Overall, I would recommend this to everyone. If anything else, I think it’s a really nice practice to add to your morning routine, and your teeth and mouth will definitely feel smoother, fresher, and cleaner. Oral health is HUGE in our overall wellbeing, and it’s definitely not something to be overlooked! The more natural ways you can incorporate holistic practices into your oral care routine the better. I think oil pulling along with brushing twice a day, flossing, and swishing with a mixture of sea salt and warm water are great ways to keep your immune system strong and your oral health at its peak. Get on the pulling wagon and start experiencing these benefits!