A couple months ago, I read this post from Jolene over at Yummy Inspirations about her experience with oil pulling. You all know I love coconut oil, but the one thing I have never been consistent with is oil pulling. I have done it off and on over the years, but never long enough to really notice any benefits.
Her post inspired me to give it another go — and this time to be dedicated to doing it. So, I set out to on my 30 Days of Oil Pulling journey to see what results I could noticed after a full 30 days of swishing with coconut oil.
Before we get started with my experience, let’s learn what oil pulling is, just in case you are unfamiliar with this practice.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an Indian folk remedy that has been used for at least 1,500 years as a way to clean your mouth. It was first mentioned in early Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, and has been used as a traditional remedy throughout India.
The Charaka Samhita describes oil pulling as effective for improving more than just oral health, but also 30 other systemic health conditions ranging from headache, migraine to diabetes and asthma.
Modern scientific studies to confirm oil pulling’s ability to improve oral health. According to an article on CoconutOil.com, oil pulling has:
- Proven to be as effective as the chemical chlorhexidine (as in Oral B mouthwash) for chronic bad breath (halitosis), but without the side effects
- Proven to be beneficial in patients with gingivitis and can result in whiter teeth and pinker gums
- Proven to reduce the cavity-linked Streptococcus mutans bacteria in plaque and saliva of children
- Proven to exert antibacterial actions through emulsification and saponification
Why does oil pulling work to improve dental health?
According to CoconutOil.com, “oil pulling positively affects the composition of bacteria in the mouth by killing pathogenic microorganisms, it makes sense that it would be beneficial in other seemingly related health conditions. When the gums or teeth are infected, bacterial cells and/or their highly immunogenic components, e.g. lipopolysaccharide, can more easily enter the blood wreaking widespread inflammation. Insofar as oil pulling nips the bacteria-associated cascade of harmful, inflammatory reactions in the bud, it may reduce the toxic load on the entire body.”
Why use coconut oil?
Sesame oil was the most common oil used, but coconut oil has recently started gaining popularity due to its antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties are due to the high levels of lauric acid in coconut oil. Lauric acid has long been known to have the power to kill germs and coconut oil contains approximately 50% lauric acid.
How does one oil pull?
It’s really simple. All you do is place a small amount of oil in your mouth and then swish it around for up to 20 minutes.
Are you crazy, Jessica?
No, well, maybe a little, but not because of this.
I know it sounds like a long time, and when you first start out, it is. I recommend starting out small. Start with 5 minutes and then work your way up.
Many experts say you should do your oil pulling on an empty stomach, before consuming any food, so the most popular time to pull is in the morning before breakfast. Many people like to do their pulling first thing after waking up.
All you do is take a small amount of coconut oil (1 tsp. to 1 tbsp.) and swish it around in your mouth like you would mouthwash. Start off with less oil than you need … I usually used about 1 tsp. and that was sufficient once my saliva mixed with it.
Just keep swishing the oil around for as long as you can. When I did my 30 day challenge, I started with 5 minutes and just kept increasing my time each day by a minute.
Your jaws will most likely get tired. Mine sure did, especially that first week, but after that, my mouth was used to it and my jaws strengthened up.
When you’re done swishing, spit the oil in the trash. Don’t spit it in your sink or toilet, as it can clog your drains, especially in homes with older plumbing. Also, the process of oil pulling is supposed to remove all sorts of bacteria and other nasties from your mouth, so it could be considered toxic waste and disposed of appropriately.
What was my experience with 30 days of oil pulling?
I found the oil pulling process to be quite pleasant actually. I found I enjoyed it and my mouth and teeth felt so clean afterwards. As I mentioned above the first week or so, my jaws would get very tired, so I could only last for 5-10 minutes before having to spit out the oil. But, as the days went on, my mouth became used to it, my jaws got stronger, and my time increased.
I did find that my teeth looked whiter. I have never had a lot of issues with plaque. I am very strict about my oral care routine and use a Waterpik daily, which I find has helped decrease the amount of plaque on my teeth. I really just liked how clean my mouth felt and if it’s also helping to get rid of some nasty stuff, then I’m all for it.
Many people have reported that oil pulling has helped with sinus problems and congestion by alleviating the pain and pressure from those conditions. I didn’t notice any changes like that when I pull, but I was not sick or congested during the 30 day experiment, so it was not an accurate test.
Will I continue oil pulling?
Yes, if I can remember to do it. I found that it was easy for me to forget, so I now have a reminder set up in my calendar each morning to remind me to swish. Since I am dealing with an autoimmune disease, I am always on the look-out for anything that could help build my immune system up, or help alleviate potential problems. Oil pulling will be one tool I use for that.
So tell me — do you oil pull? What has been your experience? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
For lots of health-related information on coconut oil, I have found this book from the founders of Tropical Traditions to be very informative. If you’re a new customer, you can receive a copy for free on your first purchase, and I get a discount coupon for referring you! Click this link to place your order and receive your free book!
You can also check out more of my writing on coconut oil:
If you’re interested in making your own skin care products, I highly recommend this eBook: “Coconut Oil For Your Skin – Nourishing Your Body From The Outside In“. This is a great book that shows you how to nourish your body from the outside in, using coconut oil!