More and more people are starting to discover oil pulling. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about it a couple of years ago; I thought it was the new big thing! This technique however has actually been around for thousands of years, and now has finally made its way to the modern world. It had been long over due, but I finally got around to trying it for myself. I set myself a goal of oil pulling everyday for 1 month using my favourite oil, which is of course coconut oil! So lets talk about what oil pulling actually is, and my experience with it.
What is oil pulling?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvadic folk oral hygiene remedy that requires you to rinse your mouth with oil, swishing or “pulling” the oil between your teeth for about 20 minutes. This should be done on an empty stomach, and it is important that you do not swallow the oil during this process. After about 20 minutes, you can spit the oil out and straight away brush your teeth. This should be done once a day, and can be taken slow to begin with. If you are new to oil pulling, then starting with 10 minutes a day still offers great results. So that is all there is to it, fairly straight forward, provided you set aside some time where eating or speaking is not required.
What are the benefits?
Think of this as the ultimate detox for your mouth. Oil pulling can reduce the amount of streptococcus mutans bacteria found in the mouth. This bacterium plays a significant role in tooth decay. The components of plaque include streptococcus mutans bacteria, so reducing the amount of this bacterium can help reduce the build up of plaque. Oil pulling can also be used as a great mouthwash since is reduces the microorganisms that cause bad breath, so no more morning breath! Among these great benefits, oil pulling can also help fight against gingivitis, bleeding gums, cracked lips and a dry throat.
Which oil should I use?
Now while you can use any oil you choose, the most commonly used oils are sunflower oil, sesame oil and coconut oil. These 3 oils all contain anti-bacterial benefits, however, it is the coconut oil that contains anti-microbial properties due to the lauric acid found in coconut oil. Coconut oil is also anti-viral and is incredibly moisturising, making it the perfect choice if you wish to clean your teeth, tackle a cold and heal cracked lips all in one sitting! Also, it’s a bonus that coconut oil just tastes much better than other oils!
My own experience.
So lets talk about my experience with oil pulling. Every evening for 30 days I would take a tablespoon of coconut oil, “pull” it between my teeth, spit, rinse and brush. On my very first day, I did think “I can’t do this everyday!” but this wasn’t so much to do with the time it took, but more the sensation of having oil lingering in my mouth! It felt a bit greasy and overall just very strange. However, I did persevere, and after 20 minutes was quite excited to spit it out! After brushing my teeth, I must admit, my teeth felt incredibly smooth. There was no leftover taste of coconut oil in my mouth afterwards either, which was a concern of mine before I started. While I love coconut oil, I do not want to be tasting it all day!
The next morning my teeth still felt super smooth and clean, so far so good. My oral hygiene routine still continued as normal, brushing twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening, except now with the addition of oil pulling. The point for me where I really noticed the effects, was at around 7pm, after a whole day of eating and drinking tea, my teeth still felt so smooth! None of that fury feeling you get on your teeth at the end of the day. Now perhaps this was just a one off, and there was only one way to know for sure. So I continued my new routine as I had done the previous day. It felt a lot less uncomfortable, and I put this down to being prepared for what it would feel like. I by no means found it boring, I just made sure I chose a time when there was something I could watch on TV for 20 minutes.
The next day felt exactly the same as the previous day. My teeth were so smooth and clean throughout the whole day. Now obviously, you want your teeth to not just “feel” clean, but also “be” clean. Unfortunately for me my gums are prone to bleeding, and my dentist has pretty much said that it is something I need to live with, since it is not caused by gum disease. So I have always been careful not to brush too hard, and to make sure I floss regularly, however, blood still appear every few days. My biggest breakthrough with oil pulling is that the bleeding has stopped! Completely stopped! I noticed after about 20 days that there was no blood. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, as this could just be by chance, so I continued as I had done, hoping that this was a permanent change.
I had also read articles on oil pulling suggesting that over time teeth can appear whiter. I wasn’t expecting miracles, so I hadn’t gotten it into my head that I would be left with pearly white teeth, however, when a friend of mine said, “your teeth look very bright” I thought JACKPOT! This happened on day 27, so it had been nearly 4 weeks of oil pulling every evening.
Finally, the big test for me was how would feel after the 30 days were up, and going back to my normal routine. I loved how smooth and clean my teeth felt, and it was great that my gums were no longer bleeding, but I felt so curious about whether these changes were to some extent in my head, or was oil pulling really as good as it seemed. After 30 days, I went back to just brushing twice a day, and lo and behold, my teeth no longer felt as clean as they use to, and after a few weeks, the bleeding started to return. Now it’s possible that a longer course of oil pulling was needed to stop the bleeding for good, or maybe it will be required for life. For me taking 20 minutes out of my day is a small price to pay to have the teeth that I want. I have since decided that oil pulling will be part of my routine at least every 3 days, if not everyday. The results were so overwhelmingly good; I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner. I advise everyone to try oil pulling for at least 1 month, and you will see some amazing results.