Oil Pulling...Does it Really Work?

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Seems a bit odd, doesn't it?  The idea of putting oil in your mouth, swishing it around and spitting it out?  I was right there with you...until I tried it.  First of all, let me tell you what it involves.  Basically, oil pulling is like using oil as a mouthwash.  It's an ancient Ayurvedic technique that is now gaining some popularity in the modern wellness movement.  You wake up each morning, put a desired amount of oil in your mouth, swish it around between your teeth and while it mixes with the saliva in your mouth, you are naturally and safely pulling toxins and loads of bacteria from your teeth and gums.  Essentially, this may be one of the easiest and safest ways to clean teeth, healthy gums and overall improved oral health.    

Here is my oil-pulling routine in the morning once I get up, collect myself and check on a soundly sleeping little boy : )

  1. Go downstairs, pull out the organic virgin coconut oil, get a spoonful of the oil in my mouth and start swishing. (This was my spoonful from this morning.)
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  3. Check the clock to see what time I'm starting the oil pulling sesh. (Did I mention you want to start with 5 minutes and work your way up?  Most recommendations are for 20 minutes, but I'm up to 10 minutes and pretty proud of myself.)
  4. Swish, swish, swish.
  5. Push and pull the oil between my teeth.
  6. (Meanwhile I'm checking Instagram or reading).
  7. Once my desired time limit is up, I spit the oil/saliva combo into a paper towel and put it in the garbage can.  (DO NOT spit in your sink and DO NOT swallow.  I'm pretty sure you don't want those harmful toxins and nasty bacteria in your sink or in your body.)
  8. Next, I get some water and swish, spit, repeat a few times. 
  9. Lastly, I brush my teeth and start my day feeling pretty awesome.

I wasn't sure I was going to like it since weird textures in my mouth generally gross me out, but this was totally doable and especially addicting.  Here are some glimpses into my journal that I kept while I was experimenting...

DAY ONE notes:  Beginner's luck.  This is too good to be true.

DAY TWO: I woke up with some serious pain in my jaw, but it went away after I did my morning session.  So far, so good.  Still got that great feeling afterwards of my teeth feeling super duper clean.

DAY THREE: Later in the day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had to do a double-take.  My teeth were definitely whiter, perhaps not noticeably whiter to anyone else, but definitely whiter. 

DAY SIX: Pushed my time up...now working on 8  minutes of swishing time.  I can also feel that I'm beginning to become addicted to this technique. 

DAY TEN: Confirmation.  "Sweetie, what are you doing to your teeth?  They look so clean and white.  Are you doing white strips?"  BAM.  Ok, just for the record, I've always had pretty clean and pretty white teeth.  Nothing special, but well taken care of over the years and it was pretty awesome that what I had been feeling myself was now noticeable to others, albeit my husband. 

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I'm in.  I'm never going back.  I don't even want to think about not doing oil pulling as a part of my morning routine.  The research is pretty straight forward.  Oil pulling removes fungus and bacteria from your teeth, while throwing a host of other health benefits your way like cleaner skin and alleviated inflammation.  Most of the positive side effects are impacting your teeth and gums directly, but just imagine if you could prevent yourself from ever getting strep throat again just by oil pulling?  This technique may be able to kill all the harmful bacteria that would otherwise wreak havoc.  

A few side notes...it did take some time for my jaw to get used to the movements of oil swishing, pushing and pulling through the teeth.  I kept with it though and it hasn't bothered me at all recently.  However, if you have TMJ or another jaw related issue I would just slow down the swishing process and build up to it just as you would with the amount of time per session.  

I've also read recommendations that advise towards using different types of oils such as vegetable and sesame.  I always have coconut oil on hand, which is why I chose to use it and I personally believe it to be a better quality oil with a slue of health benefits all to itself.

Wellness Mama wrote a blog post about the topic of oil pulling if you are wanting more information.  She also has scientific studies listed at the bottom of her post from the medical field with their respective findings if you're interested in learning more about the science behind this technique as well as results from documented studies.

I hope I've encouraged you enough to at least give it a try!  I'm warning you though, you're likely to become addicted! 

Until next time, Be Well.