If you’re not familiar with oil pulling, it involves swishing an oil around in your mouth for up to twenty minutes in the morning. Sounds gross — but hear me out.
When I first became obsessed with trying all things “healthy”, I saw a video on Hey Fran Hey’s Youtube channel on Youtube, and of course, I immediately had to try it. Now mind you, I don’t think I had ever even heard of coconut oil at this point in my life. I grew up on vegetable oil and canola oil — maybe some olive oil (for religious purposes), but I digress.
So I go around town on the HUNT for coconut oil and I finally confided in a sale associate and it’s like he could read my mind! He immediately went, “Are you going to use it for oil pulling?” Next, he goes, “I LOVE oil pulling! But when you quit — and you will quit… you will always go back.” I gave him the mean side eye.
I had already committed to oil pulling before I had even tried it. What made him so sure I would quit? Well, I stuck with oil pulling for twenty minutes DAILY for about two weeks and… I fell off the wagon.
However, I always return to oil pulling. I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to it and he was right, I wasn’t going to keep up swishing my mouth with oil for twenty minutes every morning, but I do commit to doing it at least three times a week and I’ll tell you why, but first, here’s what oil pulling is all about, according to WebMD:
“This oral therapy is a type of Ayurvedic medicine [a traditional Indian system] that dates back 3,000 years,” says Jessica T. Emery, DMD, owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago. “It involves swishing approximately 1 tablespoon of oil — typically coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil — in your mouth for about 20 minutes and then spitting it out.
Unlike some so-called natural home remedies, it’s not a practice that’s based on pseudo-science. Recent studies show that oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath. How? “Most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell,” Emery says. “Cells are covered with a lipid, or fatty, membrane, which is the cell’s skin. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.”
I personally prefer coconut oil, but I use sesame oil sometimes to switch things up. Some things you want to keep in mind while oil pulling:
- DO NOT swallow! Seriously! The oil is pulling bacteria from your mouth. You don’t want to be swallowing it!
- Don’t spit it in the sink. It’s best to spit it into a trashcan so that you’re not oiling and clogging up your pipes.
- It’s best to oil pull in the morning. That’s when our mouths are the most filled with bacteria. There’a reason “morning breath” is a thing. ;)
- Ease into it! When I first started, I was attempting to do it for twenty minutes a day and my jaws were getting tired and I was holding a napkin to my lips to make sure oil wasn’t constantly seeping out. Start out at maybe five minutes a day and work your way up to twenty minutes.
- Be sure to actually work it around your mouth! It’ll feel very instinctive to just hold it in your mouth., but oil pulling is most effective when you’re swishing and really working it to “pull” the bacteria in your mouth.
- Don’t feel obligated to do it absolutely every day. Of course, oil pulling every single day would be nice, but don’t feel pressured to. In the beginning, as sort of a detox, it is awesome to oil pull every day for a couple of weeks, especially since you may not be doing it for the full twenty minutes. Then, once you become an oil pulling warrior, you can scale back to 3-4 times a week.
Now here’s why I CANNOT STOP OIL PULLING!
1.) Oil pulling is ADDICTING.
I’m not kidding. After just the first few times, you seriously notice the difference in the way your mouth feels. Oil pulling makes my teeth feel like I just hopped right out of the dentist’s chair. In fact, the last time I had my teeth cleaned, I didn’t even have that fresh, professionally cleaned feeling because that’s how my teeth feel EVERY DAY. I’ve never licked my teeth the way I do now that I oil pull. They’re always so smooth!
2.) It’s not as time consuming as you may think.
I know, you read about swishing an oil around in your mouth for twenty minutes a day and immediately get turned off. It doesn’t sound like the most tasty experience in the world, and then it’s like, “On top of rinsing my mouth with a disgusting oil, you expect me to do it for twenty minutes?” Yup! It’s super easy when you multitask while oil pulling! Many mornings, I oil pull while I take a shower and by the time I get out of the shower, it’s time to spit it out and brush my teeth! Also, if you like to catch up on social media when you get up in the morning, it’s a breeze to oil pull while catching up on your social media feeds.
3.) The benefits!
It helps to pull toxins out of your body, as well as help with teeth whitening, asthma, acne and more! Whenever I’m congested, I make sure to oil pull and it clears it right up. In fact, I can feel the mucus loosening up while I’m oil pulling and I usually blow my nose right after I spit the oil out. If you’re a skeptic on all of the benefits of oil pulling, the smooth, shiny feeling of your teeth alone will keep you coming back.
Oil pulling is seriously something I rave about to everyone willing to listen. Have you tried oil pulling? How do you feel about it? What’s your favorite oil to pull with? Let me know in the comments and don’t hesitate to ask questions!