Oil pulling benefits oral hygiene, but other parts of the body see an improvement too. It’s a simple Ayurvedic practice where you gargle with oil three times a day. It’s called pulling because you need to pull it through your teeth. There are a few theories on the way that oil pulling works. Some say that the movement massages and stimulates the sublingual muscles to excrete toxins stored up in the body. Others say that the production of saliva is the catalyst for the body to excrete toxins.
I came across this charming albeit uninformative video about oil pulling, and it got me curious. I’d never heard of oil pulling so after a little research, I found opinions split about 50/50 whether it is effective at all.
The type of oil is also something to keep in mind. Sunflower and sesame seed are the recommended oils to use. Cold pressed oils are the highly desirable, refined oils are required.
Oil pulling has been purported to effectively treat gingivitis and whiten teeth. Also, skin conditions such as eczema and acne have been reported to improve after sustained use. Reports of lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, and even diminished migraines have been attributed to the practice of oil pulling.
The procedure is quite simple. Take a tablespoon of oil into the mouth on an empty stomach. Swish the oil in your mouth much as you would mouthwash being careful not to swallow the oil. Swallowing a minute amount is not a problem.
Pull the oil through your teeth as well as chomping and moving your jaws in a biting motion. The oil will change in consistency from thick and yellow to thin and foamy. This is because your saliva is mixing with the oil bringing with it toxins being excreted through the tongue.
Swirl and pull the oil through your teeth for 15-20 minutes. At the end of the session spit the pulled oil into the sink or toilet. If you discard the oil in the sink be sure to clean the sink with an antibacterial wipe or soap.
Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as normal. You will notice that after a few weeks of this your tongue will become pinker and healthier looking. Your teeth will be whiter and your breath will improve.
Remember this is not a race and you will not get any benefit from rushing. Some say that tilting your head back while oil pulling will ensure that oil is getting all the way to the back of the molars, but this is an advanced technique so don’t try it if you’re just starting out.
Oil Pulling Precautions
It is recommended that you wait an additional 10 minutes before you eat a meal. You may practice oil pulling 3 to 4 times a day if desired making sure to do so on an empty stomach each time.
The primary precaution with oil pulling is to do it on an empty stomach. You run the risk of vomiting if you oil pull after eating. The best time to oil pull is in the morning after you brush your teeth but before breakfast.
Being careful not to swallow the oil after pulling is another precaution. After the oil is pulled through your teeth, it will contain toxins extracted from the body. If you do happen to swallow the oil it will be passed through the system.
While I’ve talked about the basics, there are other techniques and methods. These are described in Oil Pulling Secrets. It’s possible to target a health problem with oil pulling. The Ayurvedic tradition says that it is a remedy for a long list of health problems that range from gingivitis to eczema. I recommend it as an option if you’re facing an expensive procedure. Trying this first may save you some money as in the case of a root canal which is also said to be treated by oil pulling. Again, here’s that link to get more in-depth information about the practice–Oil Pulling Secrets.