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I tried oil pulling for the first time a few years ago. It surely was before I became interested in doing a yoga teacher training, where I learned more about Ayurvedic cleansing techniques.
Honestly, I guess back then it simply caught my attention that it’s supposed to whiten your teeth naturally. I was quite strict about it for about a month and I actually felt great doing it. As I regularly do it since then, I wanted to share my thoughts on this ancient Ayurvedic technique with you.
what is oil pulling?
Well, the concept of oil pulling is not new as it has been mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, an Ayurvedic scripture, where it is referred to as Kavala Gandusha. It is a detoxifying Ayurvedic practice that has become very popular all over the world.
Doing it is actually quite easy: Oil is swished around in the mouth, all around/between teeth, gums and tongue. You could think about it as a natural mouth wash. Traditionally sesame oil was used for this, often infused with turmeric, but these days oil pulling with coconut oil seems so be a thing.
Personally, I like to use coconut oil because I like the taste and because it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
Okay, but why would anyone do this? Well, here’s the theory behind it: The oils are meant to detoxify or ‘pull’ toxins from the skin that they are applied to. Think about the fatty layers in our skin as dumping grounds for fat-soluble toxins. Some of these fat-soluble toxins that we are regularly exposed to include additives, heavy metals, hormones, pesticides, preservatives and environmental toxins. As the oils act lipophilic (this means they attract other oils) and they may pull toxic fat molecules to the surface while swishing the oil around in your mouth, cleansing them through our body’s largest detox organ: the skin.
Why and when i do oil pulling
There are days when I wake up and just feel, I really couldn’t describe it any other way, toxic. I’d wake up feeling kind of sluggish. My brain would feel foggy and/or I’d wake up with a headache. On days like these I get up and start the swish right away on an empty stomach, which is supposedly the best time to pull out all kinds of built-up toxins from the mouth and the body. And what can I say, it does leave me feeling better. Every. Single. Time.
By the way: If you miss the mint flavor of conventional mouth wash you could always make your own oil pulling mixture by adding a few drops of mint essential oil to your coconut oil and mixing it together.
How I do oil pulling
I take 1 teaspoon of organic, raw, virgin coconut oil, put it in my mouth and swish it around for anything between 5 and (ideally) 20 minutes. It really depends on how much time you have in the morning, but doing it just for a few minutes is better than not doing it at all. Also, I try to make use of that time and get some housework done, answer my emails and so on. Some people simply take a shower while they’re swishing and hey, just try to find a way that works for you. Make sure you don’t swallow the oil. Spit it into your trash can when you’re done, as the oil could clog your drains if you spit it into your sink. After that, I thoroughly rinse my mouth with warm water and brush my teeth.
Doesn’t sound complicated at all, right? Just give it a try and observe how it makes you feel.
I personally haven’t experienced any negative side-effects, but I advise you to just listen to your own body.
Some of the positive effects I noticed for myself are:
- fresh breath
- whiter teeth
- improved gum health
- improved immune health
- improved recovery from illness