What is Oil Pulling?

When one hears oil pulling, all sorts of weird thoughts probably come to mind. Those two words don’t often appear together in everyday conversation, so it’s not unusual to have a moment of pause. Nevertheless, dispel your doubts, because oil pulling is a phrase that carries a world of benefits with it for your oral and overall health. I started oil pulling a few months ago, and I refuse to look back!

An Ayurvedic therapy that is centuries old, oil pulling is a technique that requires nothing but a simple food-grade oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and a tiny dash of patience. Also referred to in scientific articles by the names “Kavalu” or “Gandoosh,” this practice is renowned for extracting toxins out of the mouth, teeth, gums, and throat, resulting in holistically greater oral health, and whiter teeth! All this without doling out hundreds of dollars for expensive teeth-whitening sessions that don’t even last you a week.

The process is simple: take a tablespoon of any vegetable oil (coconut, olive, mustard) in the morning when you wake up or at night before you sleep, swish it around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, and then spit the oil out in the trash. Be warned, the oil will draw a great deal of saliva, so start out slow and swish the oil around gently in your mouth. Also, in order to see a true impact on your oral health, it’s important to patiently swish the oil for 15 whole minutes, at a minimum.

Afterwards, rinse your mouth out with warm water, and then brush and floss your teeth as usual. It is generally recommended to do oil pulling at least once a day, but if you are able to allocate the time, activate your beast mode and do this both in the morning and evening! I won’t lie, this is initially an incredibly tedious venture, but if one sticks with it, the results are so incredibly worth it.

When I initially started oil pulling, I started to see results as soon as within a couple of weeks. My teeth were whiter, my gums were healthier and pinker, and my breath was fresher when I woke up in the morning. Other noted health benefits that have been reported include clearer skin, better sleep, improved digestion, and overall health enhancements.

My personal favorite oil to use is Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. I recommend this particular product because coconut oil is the easiest oil for our mouths to handle, without wanting to immediately retch out all your stomach’s contents. Coconut oil is incredibly soft, has a nice aroma, and melts in the mouth without assaulting your taste buds. However, it is very important to note that one should not swallow the oil, because the bacteria in your mouth has amassed in the oil. So be sure to spit out the oil in the trash, or else the oil may clog any toilet or sink drains!

Written by Nikki Kaul