Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. It works by cleaning and ‘sucking’ the toxins from your mouth. This action draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health.
The longer you push and pull the oil through your mouth, the more microbes are pulled free. The oil needs to be swished around long enough for it to turn a milky white, which indicates that the bacteria has been “pulled” off. After roughly 20 minutes the solution is filled with bacteria, viruses and other organisms; at this point, the person spits out the oil and rinses thoroughly with water.
What are dentists saying about oil pulling?
Hmm is this some crackpot woo-woo technique? Well no, dentists around the world are speaking up in favour of oil-pulling. That’s not to say it should replace brushing and flossing. But as a complimentary technique, it’s awesome!
Jessica T. Emery, DMD, a Chicago-based Dentist says:
“There is no question that oil pulling lessens the bacterial load in the mouth. As we all know, the mouth is the gateway to the body. When you consider the fact that a clean mouth may have between 1,000 and 100,000 bacteria on each tooth, and those that do not have a clean mouth may have between 100 million and a billion bacteria on each tooth, surely oil pulling can’t hurt? I truly believe that there isn’t a more natural preventative rinse than oil pulling with refined coconut oil. When you consider the harsh chemicals in most mouthwashes, it makes the practice particularly appealing to me.”
Oil pulling helps gut health too!
You know the mouthwash in your cabinet that proudly claims to kill 99% of germs? It also wipes out the good bacteria in your mouth, which isn’t good for dental health nor the health of the rest of your body. Overall health — including brain health — depends on a healthy microbiome, which is our body’s natural bacterial ecology that we have evolved with and which prevents against disease.
Clever oil-pulling trick
I used to keep a jar of coconut oil and a spoon next to my bed, so I could start my 20 minutes of swishing as soon as I woke up. But I didn’t like the idea of the spoon getting dusty and dirty and on cold mornings it was hard to spoon out the oil. So I developed this cool technique.
I gently melted the oil down in a saucepan then poured it into an ice-cube tray. After it had cooled a little, I put it in the freezer until it was set hard. Then I simply popped the oil-cubes out into a jar. Now in the mornings I just reach in a grab a cube. This wouldn’t work in summer or in warmer climates where the oil is melted, but you could always keep it in the fridge.