“Oil Pulling” has been done for thousands of years as an Ayurvedic practice to help maintain healthy teeth, gums and other, less obvious, health benefits. It consists of swishing oil in the mouth on a daily basis.
This practice has said to help treat everything from gingivitis and bad breath to headaches and circles around the eyes. Oil pulling is also known to help rebuild facial muscles (making you look younger) and even whiten teeth. Seen from the perspective of Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese acupuncture, the tongue is a map, with each area of the tongue correlating to other parts of the body. It is easy to see how daily oil pulling, which nourishes and detoxifies the mouth and tongue, can stimulate, rejuvenate and detoxify your body of metabolic waste. The build-up of this waste is where most diseases, whether acute or chronic, can trace their cause.
Studies have shown that oil pulling from 5 to 20 minutes a day, can reduce the number of bacteria by 20 percent, on average. This is a significant benefit, when 80% of all diseases begin in the mouth.
Here are some guidelines that will help you get started with oil pulling:
What type of oil should I use?
Most high quality organic oils are sweet tasting and will help soothe irritated gums, so it really depends on your needs. Many Ayurvedic practitioners suggest starting with sesame oil. For over 30 years, I, too, have used and recommended organic sesame oil with great results. There are also those that swear by coconut or hemp oil. If you are on a budget, safflower is another alternative. You may also want to use one oil for a month and rotate it with another the next month. Try it out and discover what works best for you.
Regardless of which oil you select, be sure you only use organic oils that have been cold-pressed and never been heated (including roasting and pasteurization).
How do I do Oil Pulling?
I learned from an amazing Ayurvedic doctor to put 2 to 4 tablespoons of oil in your mouth, first thing in the morning. Swish it in your mouth like a mouthwash, for 5 to 20 minutes. Ensure you continually use your tongue, gums and cheeks to move the oil and coat your entire mouth. Once you are finished, spit the oil out and thoroughly brush your teeth and scrape your tongue to clean away any additional residue.
The best time to do Oil Pulling is when you get up in the morning, as your body has been ridding itself of toxins all night. Some may find this to be a little challenging at first, so you may have to spit it out and try again. Make sure to spit into the garbage or, better yet, into your garden or compost heap and
not your sink, or you will clog up your sink over time.
It may take a few times, but start slowly with 3-5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes of oil pulling. It may take a few days but you will begin to notice the detoxifying benefits of all this swishing!
I keep a bottle of oil in my bathroom as my designated oil pulling bottle. When I wake up in the morning, I take a swig (about 1/2 oz.) and start swishing for about 15 to 20 minutes as I go about getting ready for the day. After I spit out the oil and brush my teeth, I like to drink 24 to 36 oz. of purified water, which also helps to flush the toxins that have collected overnight and start my day with energy.