Oil Pulling: Everything You Need to Know

Coconut Oil

What is it? 

Oil Pulling is an ancient ayurvedic dental tradition also known as “kavala” or “gundusha”. It involves taking a tablespoon of oil and swishing it around your mouth for at least 20 minutes, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach.

Why do it?

Oil pulling is said to improve oral health and even overall health by “pulling out” toxins in the mouth. It’s promoters claim it can improve conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes, asthma, and acne. It also whitens your teeth, cures bad breath and helps prevent and reverse cavities. It is also reported to help with hang overs, jaw pain, sleep issues and sinus problems.

Does it work? 

Currently there is little scientific evidence to support the claims made by the supporters of oil pulling. There was a study that proved that sesame oil significantly reduced plaque and oral bacteria. Coconut oil has vitamin E in it which is an antioxidant. It also has anti-fungal and  anti-bacterial properties from the lauric acis and monolaurin.

My Experience

I tried oil pulling with coconut oil for about two weeks regularly and found that my teeth were whiter and brighter after just two days. I found it doable but a little long to swish for 20 minutes. I did it while showering or doing other things so that my mind wasn’t just on the oil and toxins in my mouth. I thought my results orally were worth it and will continue to try it and see if it helps other areas. I plan to try different oils and compare results although I like the taste of coconut oil the best.

Oil Pulling istock

How to do it

  1. Choose an oil. I recommend coconut, sesame or sunflower oil. Sesame is the traditional recommended oil and coconut is the most popular now. Coconut oil can literally replace all your cosmetics…
  2. Take a tablespoon and place it in your mouth.
  3. Swish for AT LEAST 20 minutes (on an empty stomach, in the morning works well). Don’t swish as hard as you would with mouthwash because you will get tired after 20 minutes. Swish gently.
  4. spit it out IN THE TRASH. Not the sink because the oil will harden and can clog your pipes.
  5. Rinse with saltwater.
  6. Brush and floss as usual.
  7. Do it everyday once a day for at least a week. It might be hard in the beginning but you will get used to it! If it doesn’t work for you try a different oil or give it up, at least you can say you tried it. Even if you don’t see all the amazing results that people have claimed it is a fabulous substitute for traditional mouthwash and you can use it in the kitchen too!

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