What the Heck is Oil Pulling?

I first saw an oil pulling picture floating around my Facebook news feed a while back, but figured it was just the next fad and didn’t care to look into it. No more than a week later, my sister texted me a before and after picture of her teeth, and they were noticeably whiter in the second picture. Tori always tries artsy things or home remedies she finds on Pinterest or elsewhere, so it’s always fun for me to hear about her favs and fails.

Anyway, I asked what she did, assuming she had tried some sort of new, natural concoction, to which she replied, “Have you heard about oil pulling yet?” Then, I started Googling. 😉

So.. oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice, said to rid the body of toxins. Most of the sources I looked into focused on dental health, but some practitioners go as far as to say that oil pulling can heal things such as migraines, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, skin conditions and the list goes on.

Physician Deepak Chopra says that you can heal the body through your tongue and promotes the technique in his book Perfect Health. According to traditional Chinese medicine, “The tongue is mapped by organ locations—that is, each section of the tongue is connected to the kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine. Thus, an oil-mouth-massage soothes and stimulates the key meridians where taste meets organ.” I, personally, am fascinated by practices like acupuncture and massage, and the energy pathways of the body, but I understand if it’s not your thing! Regardless, pathogenic oral bacteria and toxins circulate your bloodstream, affecting more than just your mouth.

If you want to try, you literally take a spoonful of oil (sesame oil is said to be the best for its antioxidant properties—I used coconut) and put it into your mouth. It will immediately begin to melt in your mouth and mix with your saliva.

By the way, this is my favorite coconut oil:

coconut oil

This brand, Spectrum, also makes a spray version, which we use in our kitchen every day.

You are supposed to swish around (just as if you were using mouthwash) for 20 minutes. If you can’t handle that, you can start with 5 or 10 and then increase your time day-by-day or whatever feels comfortable for you.

After my first trial (I did the full 20 minutes), I did develop a couple little sores on my tongue. This is supposedly the toxins coming to surface. After the third time, they were gone, and I haven’t had any similar issues since. Some people say they experience jaw pain, but I wasn’t trying to swish that hard—haha!—nor do I think it would be necessary.

One interesting factor that I read about was that people with amalgams (metal fillings) are concerned with mercury leeching, fillings falling out and/or odd sensations in the mouth during or following oil pulling. There isn’t any evidence of such incidents that I was able to find, nor any clear-cut research on the topic—although Dr. Joseph Mercola, who I love, says that it is safe. If you have heard otherwise, let me know, and please give me the source!

Two other quick things: 1) don’t swallow; and 2) spit in the trash, not down the sink.

As for me, I will do the oil pulling when it comes to mind, but definitely not as consistently as is recommended. You are supposed to do this first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. So that entails getting up and doing something for 20 minutes before having my coffee. …No. Hahaha 🙂

What do you think?

Have you tried it? If so, have you noticed any positive changes?

Everyone have a fantastic weekend!
<3 – Kacie