At first glance, the practice of Oil Pulling, where a person swills a mixture of natural oils, yes oil, around their mouth, would seem to be another fly by night health and beauty fad. However, you may be surprised to know that oil pulling is an ancient tradition which has been around for thousands of years.
The concept is easy enough to grasp, every morning just after you wake, put a table spoon of oil (sunflower, coconut or sesame, or a mixture) into your mouth and swish it around like a regular mouthwash. Keep this up for 15-20 minutes, if you can stand it. Then discard the oil and brush your teeth with regular toothpaste.
This technique is based on the ancient Ayurvedic Practice and is purported to “pull out” (hence the name Oil Pulling) harmful toxins from the body. The benefits are said to include, banishing bad breath, whitening teeth, killing harmful bacteria, relieving stress and curing insomnia.
Those are some pretty exceptional claims, but is there any truth behind them?
The generally accepted explanation is that the oil binds itself to the harmful toxins, via the mucus membranes in the mouth.
Dr. Bruce Fife, nutritionist, naturopathic physician, and author of Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing, uses the analogy of motor oil in a car’s engine, which, while unappetizing, is also compelling. The oil picks up all the dirt and debris that you don’t want clogging up your engine. So you change the oil in your car periodically. Oil-pulling, to wit, is like changing the lubricant of your body’s mechanism.
Scientific evidence is, admittedly, thin on the ground as to whether this technique really is a cure all for the various ailments mentioned above. That said, it is hard to argue with something which has managed to stick around for the last 3,000 years and is now gaining an avid following in the US and Europe.
Certainly, no one could blame you if you are not jumping at the chance to start glugging some oil that you found lying around in your kitchen but there are a number of flavoured (mint, lemon) Oil Pulling products on the market with a far more pleasant taste. Those who have embraced Oil Pulling seem to be largely positive on its effects, with the most notable benefits being whiter teeth and a clearer complexion.
If you want to give Oil Pulling a go, it will certainly not harm you. The only note of caution is if you are allergic to particular nuts, sesame for instance then it would be best to avoid sesame oil. You are best sticking to coconut oil to be safe. Avoid ingesting any of the oil and brush your teeth thoroughly following every session.
Keep the practice up for 7 days and monitor any differences in teeth colouration and overall feeling of wellbeing. If you start to see positive results, keep it up! If it’s not for you, fear not, coconut oil can also be used to make a mean stir fry!
Olivia is a stay at home mother from Australia and founder of www.EveryHomeRemedy.com. Olivia holds Bachelor of Applied Science (Ex. Sci.) and believes in self-sustaining, eco-friendly family life and hopes to inspire others in their pursuit of the same. Find out more about Oil Pulling benefits and how to get products at TheLittleHealthCompany.com.