2 Mins Read
- Oil pulling involves swishing/holding vegetable oil in your mouth when you first wake up (though some adherents doing before every meal of the day) and then spitting it out.
- It is an ancient Ayurvedic dental practice that was first mentioned in Indian texts in 800 B.C.
- Its primary goal is to rid the mouth, and body, of oil-soluble toxins.
- There are two traditional techniques: gandusha, whereby you fill your mouth with oil in your mouth, hold it and then spit it out, and kavala graha, whereby you take in a smaller amount of oil and move it around in your mouth, before spitting it out. Make sure not to be too aggressive when swishing- gentle does it.
- While many health practitioners agree that oil pulling has some dental benefits, such as stronger gums, reduced plaque and cleaner breath, the jury is still out on whether its benefits extend to actively ridding your body of toxins. Other benefits that proponents cite (but are not necessarily conclusively proven) include: reduction in headaches, strengthening of teeth, teeth whitening, jaw pain, sleep issues, sinus conditions. Some go as far as to say it can cure cancer and diabetes!
- Ideally, oil pulling should be done on an empty stomach- avoid drinking or eating anything before you do it- this is why when you first wake up is an ideal time.
- Most Ayurvedic doctors recommend using virgin sesame oil or virgin coconut oil but any high quality (read:unrefined) plant-based oil can work. Virgin coconut oil contains lauric acid, a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral substance that kills pathogens.
- While some people swish the oil for up to 30 minutes, 3 to 5 minutes, done twice, can suffice- basically, think 2 x 4 minute sessions. For some, resisting the urge to gag when you first try it is really tough but most people who do it regularly will tell you that you get used to it.
- Make sure to rinse out your mouth with water after you have completed your oil pulling routine. Also spit the oil out into the trash- don’t clog your building/house’s water pipes!
- Oil pulling should not be considered a replacement for brushing or flossing! Also, be careful when it comes to kids-make sure to check with your health practitioner and many oil pullers advise waiting until they have their full set of adult teeth.
Photo credit: Coconut Oil via photopin (license).