Oil Pulling – What is it and why should you care?
As the season begins to change, many people in my circle are reporting that they are feeling unwell. Airborne particles such as mold from rotting leaves can really tax the immune system. Then there are things the body must contend with, such as viruses, bacteria and other pathogens that seem to be more prevalent this time of year.
What if I told you that you could help to support your body’s natural ability to defend itself against this onslaught of foreign invaders by putting a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swishing it around? Could it really be that simple? Yes, it can. Here’s the what, why, and how of using “oil pulling” as part of your daily regimen.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this ancient Ayurvedic method and its use in supporting oral health, as it is rapidly enjoying increased popularity. Even my holistic dentist instructs her patients about the benefits of oil pulling! The traditional oil of choice for this practice is unrefined sesame oil, however many people use raw coconut oil due to its anti-bacterial properties.
How to begin: Place anywhere between one-half and one tablespoon of oil in your mouth. If the oil has solidified due to cool weather, no worries. It will melt in your mouth faster than an M & M candy. And it will be a whole lot healthier too!
Set a timer for 20 minutes and gently begin to swish the oil around your mouth, through your teeth and across your gums. Remember you are only swishing, not gargling. Once 20 minutes have passed, spit the oil (now full of toxins) into the trash. Do NOT spit it in the sink as it could clog your plumbing. Next, take a sip of water, swish it around your mouth then spit it out. Do this a couple of times. Next, it’s a good idea to follow this up with the use of a tongue scraper to remove bacteria that may have collected there. Then, enjoy a large glass of warm or room temperature lemon water to further support detoxification.
The best time to do oil pulling is in the morning, prior to eating or drinking anything. It’s the first thing I do when I get out of bed each morning and is a great activity to do in the shower. It has become like a meditation to me – a conscious act of self-love.
One of the most common reasons that people begin oil pulling is to support the health of their gums. They understand that when bacteria builds up in the mouth it can have a very detrimental effect on oral and overall health in general. Oil pulling supports the body by attracting and killing bacteria in the oral cavity and surrounding areas (throat, sinuses, etc.), which becomes trapped in the oil, making it easy to eliminate. The reason it works so well is because the majority of undesirable microorganisms in our mouth consist of a single cell which has a fatty membrane. When these fatty membranes come in contact with oil (another fat) they adhere to one another. Due to the detoxifying effect of this process, be sure to drink plenty of purified water throughout the day.
When you eliminate unwanted bacteria in your mouth, it takes a burden off of your immune system, leaving it with more bandwidth to offer you support in ways that can result deeper levels of overall healing. Not only that, it whitens your teeth and freshens your breath! If you haven’t yet made oil pulling part of your daily routine, you would be well-served to give it a try. It has made a huge difference in my life and in the lives of others who practice it.