Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic remedy that is reported to cure several conditions and diseases. Oil pulling has been used for at least 3,000 years in the eastern hemisphere. The most widely claimed benefit of oil pulling is that of better overall oral health. Whiter teeth, healthier gums, and fresher breath are only the tip of the iceberg of the improvements by using this homeopathic technique.
The technique is to swish 1 tablespoon of oil in the mouth for 15-20 minutes, then spit out the oil. It is best done first thing in the morning before brushing the teeth or drinking.
Sesame, sunflower, and safflower oils were the preferred oils used to “pull” harmful bacteria from the mouth. In addition, coconut oil and olive oil have gained popularity for oil pulling. Each type of oil may produce different results in individuals. See Sandy’s Oil Pulling Compilation on Earthclinic.com for more information on the types of oil and the various benefits.
There are few medical studies on the subject; however, there are infinite testimonials from actual oil pullers. Many swear by the practice and claim better overall health in addition to better oral health. There are several theories as to how and why the oil pulling works for so many.
My Oil Pulling Experience
I began oil pulling several years ago after breaking a tooth on popcorn one Friday night. I searched the Internet for a quick, temporary fix until I could get to the dentist on the following Monday. The search results yielded several articles on oil pulling. The articles instructed using 1 tablespoon of sesame, sunflower, or safflower oil and swishing for 15-20 minutes. Since I didn’t have any of those, I used olive oil. I tried to swish a full tablespoon, but just couldn’t do it without gagging. I did manage to swish 1 teaspoon for about ten minutes and then spit. I immediately swished another teaspoon for 10 minutes and spit it out. My thought at the time was, if a little good, more must be better. I oil pulled 2-3 times daily until I got to the dentist. After the dentist fixed my tooth, I continued the daily oil pulling to prevent infection. I noticed my gums didn’t bleed when I flossed, and my mouth just felt better. Gradually, I worked up to a full tablespoon of coconut oil. The coconut oil was more palatable and easier for me to swish for a full 20 minutes. Later, I noticed that my skin wasn’t as dry, my hair and nails grew faster, and food tasted better. I still practice oil pulling several times a week, especially in winter to prevent dry, flaky skin.