Now this is going to strike MANY of you as really STRANGE and don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you just don’t “get it” at first, because I didn’t! As a matter of fact, I read about this thing called “oil pulling” several months ago and thought THAT’S CRAZY! Then I heard my sister Rebecca was doing it and I already knew SHE was a little crazy! ;-) But when my daughter Britta said SHE had started doing it, I had to admit maybe I had been a little too hasty in my crazy labeling. Especially after she had two dental check-ups in a row with no cavities (our family’s teeth are “challenged” in the cavity department.) Her teeth have been noticeably whiter too!
OK…I think I probably need to back up here and explain what this “oil pulling” actually is. It’s a strange name for a seemingly strange practice. Basically, it is swishing oil in your mouth for a short time each day to improve oral health. Kind of like using an oil as mouthwash. The premise is much the same as Oil Cleansing which I have posted about in the past HERE. Oil dissolves oil and so it is able to break up and swish away plaque and toxins without harming your teeth or gums. It also has the added effect of whitening teeth and improving gums.
It does sound strange, right?? But it’s hard to argue with Britta’s results and thousands of years of Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine of India.
Here’s a quick rundown on how it’s done.
How To Do Oil Pulling:
- Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil in your mouth. If it’s cold, allow the oil to melt.
- Swish the oil around in your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for 15 to 20 minutes. The best time is in the morning before eating breakfast, but can be done before any meal.
- Spit out the oil. NEVER SWALLOW because it is now loaded with bacteria and other nasty stuff.
- Always spit into the garbage, not the sink. Coconut il will harden below 76 degrees. NOT good for your drain pipes.
- Rinse your mouth out with water, then brush your teeth.
Many advocates of oil pulling suggest safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil; but studies have found higher quality oils to be more effective. The anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties of organic extra-virgin coconut oil make it the perfect choice for oil pulling. It also has a milder taste.
I used 2 teaspoons of organic extra virgin coconut oil and added 2 drops each of Defend essential oil blend and Tea Tree essential oil. (Many studies have demonstrated Tea Tree’s effectiveness against a number of oral bacteria. That’s the reason it is added to everything from toothpaste to mouthwash to “treated” toothpicks.)
Here is a handy list of other essential oils and their specific uses that could be used as an enhancement to oil pulling that I found over at Camp Wander:
1. Defend: General immune system, mouth and gum health, teeth problems, halitosis, cold, flue, sore throat, virus.
2. Oregano: Flu, cold, virus, sore throat, swollen glands, cold sores, herpes, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antibiotic, anti-viral.
3. Clove: Mouth and gum, analgesic, anti-biotic, antiseptic.
4. Frankincense: Analgesic, cold and flu, mouth surgery, mouth trauma, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory.
5. Geranium: mouth and gum, throat, laryngitis, analgesic, antiseptic.
6. Grapefruit: Cleansing, detoxifying, anti-septic, antibacterial.
7. Lemon: Cleansing, detoxifying, cold, sore throat, anti-septic.
8. Lemongrass: Herpes, halitosis.
9. Tea Tree: Cold, flu, immune system, braces irritation, gum and mouth sores, congestion, herpes, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic.
10. Myrrh: Mouth, teeth and gums, cold and flu, tonsillitis, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic.
I am extremely new to this oil pulling thing and I have to admit it was a bit unnerving the first time I put a spoonful of solid coconut oil in my mouth…but it literally melted in seconds and after that it was basically like swishing mouthwash around in your mouth, but for a lot longer. :-) My face and cheeks muscles actually got kind of sore when I did it, but I’m sure they will eventually get in better shape.
I think I need to point out that after doing a lot of research on this, there are a lot of wild claims out there about oil pulling and how it “pulls” toxins out of your bloodstream and can cure everything from arthritis to heart disease. While I don’t totally discount these claims, for now I’m focusing on its’ proven effectiveness at reducing harmful bacteria in the mouth and improving oral and dental health.
Basically I see no downside to trying it and hopefully I will have the same results as Miss (soon to be Mrs.) Britta! :-)
Have you ever tried Oil Pulling?
1. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva
2. Effect of oil pulling on plaque-induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study
3. Effect of oil pulling therapy on dental caries (streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva) as well as plaque-induced gingivitis
4. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque & Gingivitis
5.Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: A randomized controlled pilot trial
6. Mechanism of oil-pulling therapy – in vitro study