When I initially discovered oil pulling, I was skeptical to say the least. Yet, my curiosity was piqued enough that I decided to look into it more and give it a try. I already had coconut oil in my possession, and I didn’t have much to lose, so I figured why not? What I discovered was something that had noticeable benefits and genuinely worked for me. Imagine my surprise.
Since then, I have used the practice off and on. I’ve noticed enough differences between the times when I have oil pulled and the times I have not to solidify my belief that it benefits me. Personally, I think it’s at least worth giving it a try. You might disagree, but before you write it off completely let’s take a look at what oil pulling is and how you stand to benefit from it.
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What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling, or oil swishing, is an Ayuverdic medicinal practice that originated in India and has been around for thousands of years (at least according to the internet). It consists of placing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swishing it around for roughly twenty minutes, then spitting it into a garbage can. Sesame, sunflower, and coconut are the oils I’ve come across most often in my research, but a number of other kinds can be used as well. That being said, coconut is perhaps the most common and is my oil of choice – both for taste and price.
The overall goal of this method is to improve oral health. It supposedly accomplishes this by removing oil-soluble toxins from your body. Proponents of the practice claim it helps reduce plaque, whitens teeth, and strengthens gums. Of course, people also claim it can cure diseases such as cancer and arthritis, so you see why I was so skeptical. The seemingly never-ending list of potential benefits makes it a bit difficult to believe there are any benefits at all.
Yet, the internet boasts hundreds of success stories, which is hard to completely ignore. While some of the claims are clearly outrageous, others are entirely plausible. It is, however, important to note that none of the claims behind oil pulling have any scientific basis. This is largely due to a lack of scientific studies, though, so do with that what you will.
Seeing how the science to back it up simply isn’t there, the only thing I can do is share my own experiences with you. I’ve been oil pulling off an on for the past four or five years (my memory is a fickle thing). I initially chose to try it because I had read that it could help with headaches, and I had suffered from debilitating ones for multiple years. This wasn’t the first headache cure I had tried, but it would be my last.
The very first time I put the coconut oil in my mouth, I was largely unprepared. I like to keep my residence cool, so it was solid rather than liquid, which made for a weird texture and a difficult experience until it melted. Once I got past this, it was surprisingly not that bad. I enjoyed the taste of the coconut oil and swishing it around was kind of fun. The best part, though? By the time I spit everything out, my headache was gone.
Trust your Gut
This result alone was enough for me to continue oil pulling on a regular basis, but it wasn’t the only one I noticed. As more time went by, I started to feel better in general. My skin was brighter, my teeth felt cleaner, and I was losing weight. Was this all the result of the oil pulling? On its own, probably not; but in combination with a better lifestyle and some apple cider vinegar, then yes, I believe it was helping. You could argue that my change in lifestyle is what made me feel better, but you’d be dismissing the fact that the oil is what led to that change.
How I can be sure it was the oil pulling that did this? For starters, I was there. That’s not much to go on, though, so I’ll give you a more solid reason. It’s believed that swishing oil around in your mouth can help improve your gut health, and better gut health equals a happier, healthier you. I believe the pulling helped improve my gut health, which in turn helped improve my mood and led to my decision to make some changes.
Things to Know
If you’re considering oil pulling, then there are a few things you should know before you start. The oils you use for pulling are safe to consume, but it’s still wise to have a little knowledge under your belt before you begin a new regimen. Also, feel free to reach out to me with questions, but keep in mind I’m not a doctor or a dentist. If you really want to make sure it’s not going to do you any harm, speak with a professional. Anyway, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Always buy Grade A, therapeutic oil
- Do not, I repeat do not, swallow the oil after you’ve been swishing – it can make you sick
- You don’t have to use a full tablespoon of oil or do it for a full 20 minutes – do what works best for you
- You should still brush your teeth when you’re done
- Try to do it on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning
Once you get the hang of it, oil pulling is simple. I’ve often forgotten I was even doing it and ended up going over the 20 minute mark. If you find yourself getting too stuck on how it tastes or feels in your mouth, find something to distract you. While I don’t mind the entirety of the experience, I still like to utilize the time to accomplish other tasks, such as checking my emails or doing the dishes.
I’ve shared with you my experiences with oil pulling, but I believe the results of using any type of alternative medicine are entirely personal and will vary greatly. Something might work really well for one person while having no effect on another. Maybe a certain combination of methods has great results, but none of them seem to work on their own. Your body will most likely respond to oil pulling in a different way than mine did. This makes sense, considering we’re all different. The best way to know how it will work for you is to put aside your skepticism and give it a try.