Oil Pulling

My curiosity was peaked when some of my friends began “oil pulling” – an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that consists of swishing around a tablespoon of pure unrefined organic virgin coconut oil in your mouth for 20 whole minutes WITHOUT swallowing it.For those not familiar with Ayurvedic medicine, the methods originated about 3,000 years ago in India and are touted as “whole body” natural cleansing methods.

While there is limited scientific research on the benefits of “oil pulling,” some users have reported improved complexions (less acne), better gum health (less bacteria, infections, and plaque), less sinus problems, whiter teeth, and better breath. If you decide to try “oil pulling,” it is important to note that swallowing the coconut oil releases the toxins right back into you body. Consequently, it is important not to swallow any of the oil. After your twenty minutes are up, you should also spit the oil out in the toilet, as it can clog the sink when it returns to a  solid state. The other tricky part to remember is that  if you are going to “oil pull” after eating, you need to wait 1-2 hours. This is why many users opt to do it in the morning before eating.

As an adult sufferer of acne, I thought I would give it a try. I opted to use the coconut oil from Trader Joe’s shown below:


Here are my observations after using it every day for about a month:

  1. It is really gross. The coconut oil goes from a solid to liquid state as you swish it around in your mouth. I don’t care for the taste of coconut and I certainly don’t like the texture in my mouth.
  2. 20 minutes is a very long time. The duration of the “oil pulling” feels like a very very long time. The good news is that you get used to it the more regular user you become. I found it easiest to “oil pull” in the morning when I am getting ready for work. If you have kids, remember you can’t really carry on a conversation with the oil in your mouth.
  3. I did not notice improvement in my complexion. My complexion did not get worse (some people report more acne as the toxins are being eliminated from their body), and it did not get better. Therefore, I can’t really recommend it as a natural way to keep acne at bay.
  4. My gums and mouth felt squeaky clean. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but my mouth really did feel clean–kinda of that feeling after brushing, flossing and using mouth wash.
  5. My teeth were whiter. This was one benefit I noticed immediately after “oil pulling” one day. My friends that have tried this have come to the same conclusion.
  6. It did help my sinuses. I started this last Spring during t-ball season when my allergies were bothering me a lot from being out in the fields. My allergies did not bother me at all once I started “oil pulling.” This made a huge difference between me not wanting to go out to the field and me not minding at all.
  7. I don’t know how it affected my breath.

Overall, I found that “oil pulling” did have some health benefits. I plan to begin using it again during allergy and T-Ball season to keep my allergies at bay.


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