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Oil pulling has been on my radar for some time but I only got round to trying it out recently. I admit the first time I heard of it, I thought it had something to do with hair and might be related to the popular oil rinsing practice but further research proved otherwise. While I didn’t find any specific scientific data confirming the effectiveness of oil pulling, I did come across a lot of information about the practice, which dates back thousands of years.
What is Oil Pulling?
This is an ancient practice from India, which involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 20 – 30 minutes on an empty stomach. In other words, using oil as a mouthwash. When you do this, the bad bacteria in your mouth adheres itself to the oil and gets dissolved.
As a confirmed chocoholic whose dentist is likely the richest man this side of the world, this sounded pretty good to me.
5 Benefits of Oil Pulling
- The main benefit is the reduction of harmful bacteria in your mouth which causes all gingivitis, tooth decay, etc.
- It whitens the teeth
- Oil pulling eliminates toxins in your body.
- It can also reduce the incidence of halitosis.
- It improved overall oral and body health.
How to Oil Pull Successfully
The popular oils used for this in India are sunflower and sesame oil but you can use any oil you want to.
Ladle a tablespoon of the oil into your mouth and swish around for 20 – 30 mins. Spit out then brush your teeth as usual. Try to really get the oil into every nook and crevice of your mouth, swishing back and forth and up and down. You should see an improvement within a few days. DO NOT SWALLOW the oil after pulling.
My Experience with Oil Pulling
I practiced this over a week. I settled on coconut oil because you know I can’t have only my hair smelling like a tropical island :). The process sounds simple but swishing a spoon of oil around in your mouth for nearly half an hour is a lot of work. I tried to distract myself with a movie but it was still some effort for me and I did develop a slight headache afterwards. I wasn’t aggressive with the swishing by the way.
On the second day, I tried swishing while I took a shower then cleansed my skin and applied my creams and what not. It didn’t seem like forever quite as much. I decided to stick to this routine for the 2 weeks.
Verdict: At the end of the 2 weeks, my teeth appeared whiter but that may be my imagination (I probably should have taken pictures on day 1). My teeth felt squeakier and the tooth that’s been bothering me on the left side of my mouth stopped aching. I also feel my hair roots were softer.
I will continue to practice oil pulling but I will reduce it to two – three times a week instead of everyday.
Best Tips for Oil Pulling
- Stick with it for at least 14 days when you start out then you can reduce it to a few times a week.
- If the oil you choose makes you gag, try another oil before giving up.
- Engage in some kind of fun distracting activity while you swish the oil around. If you don’t, you might get fed up and give up.
- Do it for at least 10 minutes in order for it to be effective.
The Best Oils to Use for Oil Pulling
Have you ever tried oil pulling? What were the results?