Oil Pulling – The ‘How To’ Guide

By Jade Ellis

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling is an Ayuverdic medicinal remedy that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify gums. The idea behind Ayuverdic oil pulling is that the natural substance, oil, is swished (Kavala Graha in Ayurveda) or held in the mouth for some time. It has been known to have effects of fighting harmful bacteria in the mouth. Other benefits are also said to include whitening teeth naturally, and gum health.

Why oil pull?

The oil acts a cleanser. When you put the oil in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it ‘pulls’ out bacteria. Oil pulling has a very powerful detoxifying effect. Our mouths are the home to numerous viruses, bacteria, fungi and other parasites and their toxins. Candida and Streptococcus are common to find in our mouths. It is these types of germs that cause gum disease and tooth decay, and contribute to many other health problems including arthritis and heart disease. If our immune system becomes overloaded or burdened by excessive stress, poor diet, environmental toxins, these organisms can spread throughout the body causing infections and inflammation, and possibly a number of different health problems. You can use sesame oil, olive oil, ghee or coconut oil can be used for this technique.

Why is coconut oil popular for oil pulling?

Ayuverdic medicinal practitioners naturally use sesame oil as it is staple in India. Coconut oil has become a very popular choice for oil pulling, and the power of coconut oil has boomed over recent years. Coconut oil has been shown to moisturize skin, decrease wrinkles and age spots, balance hormones, lower cholesterol, burn fat, balance blood sugar and improve energy and improve digestion.

Streptococcus Mutans is bacteria that is prominent in the mouth and it has been studied for its role in tooth decay and gum disease. When oil pulling with coconut oil, Streptococcus Mutans bacteria in the mouth has been shown to decrease. It is said that oil pulling with coconut oil can help with everything from acne, to sore throats and even heart disease. Good oral health can benefit the body in other ways.

Oil pulling and Ayurveda

There have been studies written about health benefits of oil pulling. The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, which highlighted a study that reviewed holistic approaches to oral health and discovered that oil pulling is one of the most effective natural health solutions known to scientists that prevent tooth decay and loss. It highlights that Ayurveda advises oil gargling to purify the system, as each section of the tongue is connected to different organs, such as the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine. The detoxification process of oil pulling extends far beyond oral health, and reaches the entire body.

Oil pulling tips

  • It is important not to gargle with the oil as you may swallow toxic oil back into the body.
  • Always oil pull first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • If using coconut oil, let the oil slightly melt in your mouth first.
  • When starting out try to oil pull for 5 minutes, then increase to 10, 15, 20.
  • Use the right amount of oil for you. Perhaps start out with a tea spoon and then increase each time.
  • While oil pulling, do a small task at the same time. This can take your mind off of your mouth and help time pass.

How to Guide

Put 1-2 tablespoons of oil in your mouth.

Make sure to oil pull first thing when you wake up. It is best to oil pull on an empty stomach. The oil traditionally used in oil pulling is sesame oil although coconut oil has proven to be the more popular option recently with many people favouring this oil.

Swish for 20 minutes

When oil pulling, timing is very important. You need to leave the oil in your mouth long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will double in volume and the oil will get thicker and should be a creamy white colour when spit out. It may be difficult at first to make the full 20 minutes; so maybe aim for 5 – 10 minutes on your first try.

Spit the oil out in a bin

It is important not to spit the oil in the sink! The oil might thicken and clog your pipes. Also, do not swallow the oil, as it should be full of bacteria, toxins and pus that have been removed from your mouth.

Rinse well with warm water

Most say that warm water seems to clean the mouth better. Swishing the warm water around your mouth a few times will get rid of any remaining oil. You could also use warm salt water which is known to be a good antibacterial method.

Brush well

Brushing your teeth well after oil pulling makes sure that the harmful bacteria that has hopefully been extracted, has been removed from your mouth.