Oil Pulling for a Naturally Brighter Smile
Is it just me, or is oil pulling having a big revival lately? Until recently, I was pretty much oblivious to the whole practice – but I’ve now come out from under my rock!
I did a bit of research on oil pulling and – wow, it’s not new by any means. It’s actually an ancient Ayurvedic practice that’s over 3,000 years old. I guess we were thinking up ways to freshen up our mouths long before toothpaste came along! But the acclaimed benefits of oil pulling go way beyond a healthy smile, so I decided I’d follow my curiosity and give it a try myself!
If you want to know more about how to oil pull, the benefits + my experience, read on!
If you’re dreading the thought of adding yet another thing to your routine (like I was), the good news is that oil pulling is pretty easy.
Basically, all you do is put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10 – 20 minutes. Since the more you think about it the more uncomfortable it gets, this is a good time to carry on with other tasks like sorting laundry, taking a shower or prepping your lunch for work!
After you’re done, simply spit out the oil and follow up with a rinse of water. Salt water = even better.
In terms of best oils to use, sesame and coconut oil are popular options, but you can use other oils such as olive oil. Personally, I opt for coconut oil. It tastes good and it does double duty given its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Timing-wise, I hear that oil pulling is best done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. But really you can do it whenever you like!
The theory behind oil pulling is that the oil sweeps up the bacteria in our mouths and allows us to expel it. This acts as a detox as it literally takes a load off our digestive system and our liver, which is already working overtime to clean our blood and neutralise the toxins we encounter in everyday life.
This is why the benefits of oil pulling are said to extend beyond fresh breath and a whiter smile. Other benefits that are believed to be linked to oil pulling include:
- Clearer skin
- Increased energy
- More balanced hormones
- Better sleep
- Reduction in allergies and sinus issues.
This is just a small list of some of the reported benefits! And it makes sense too, since the health of our mouth is an indicator of our overall health, and the systems of our body are so interconnected.
So with little downside, I thought I’d give oil pulling a try and report back on how I travelled.
Well, I’m not going to sugar coat it. When you first start oil pulling, it feels gross. And your mouth gets incredibly tired!
I started with a goal of hitting ten minutes, and parked myself in front of the TV for some welcome distraction. I’ve always been quite irked with yucky oral care practices. I hate the dentist, I hate flossing and *for some reason* I shudder when I hear people swish water around in their mouths before drinking it down! So for me oil pulling was super disgusting at first.
Five minutes in, I’m thinking “gosh this is tiring” how do people do this EVERY DAY? My jaw ached and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by it – especially since saliva starts to also build up and yeah…gross. I just tried to remember to breathe properly, stop swishing for a few seconds and then carry on!
Five minutes later – hooray I’m done. I spat out the oil and did a salt water gargle before brushing my teeth. Sorry if this sounds dramatic but for me, it was! Oil pulling for the first couple of times – it was not pleasant. But if a baby like me can do it, so can you!
Thankfully, in my experience it got easier. Those muscles in your face get stronger and more toned (neck and jaw lift, anyone?) and you just get over it. Now that I’ve been oil pulling for about a month, it’s become a no-brainer. Get up, drink some water, take a spoon of oil and carry on my morning – have a shower, get dressed, do my eye makeup – whatever.
And a month in, do I see any benefits? Yep. My mouth feels cleaner and fresher, my gums appear to be healthier (no bleeding or irritation from flossing or brushing), and my teeth – might even be a bit whiter? I’m not too sure. Gosh, if only I’d taken a before and after!
I can’t speak for my liver just yet but, I like the thought that I’m lightening the load. After all, our modern life – even when using natural home and personal care products and eating as clean as possible – is full of toxins and whatnot that our bodies have to detox.
So that’s all on me + oil pulling for now – but I’d love to hear your experience! Have you tried oil pulling? What benefits did you notice?