Oil pulling has become quite the buzz. It’s all over the internet and especially on social media it seems like everyone is doing it.
But this ancient Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil in your mouth has actually been around for thousands of years.
In this article I explain what oil pulling is, what it can do for you and I share my best tips for oil pulling with coconut oil.
What is oil pulling?
Oil pulling, known as Kavala Gandusha or Kavala Graha originated in India.
It’s a powerful detoxifying practice that works by swishing a natural oil in your mouth.
Coconut oil and sesame oil are some of the oil that have been traditionally used for this.
Pulling the oil between your teeth and around your mouth helps remove bacteria and plaque.
Afterwards you spit out the oil and clean your mouth as usual. The oil should not be ingested.
What does oil pulling do?
Oil pulling is a great addition to your oral care routine. It helps clean your mouth from bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins.
Regular oil pulling supports healthy teeth and gums, fresher breath and whiter teeth.
It reduces plaque and can prevent conditions such as cavities and gingivitis.
But the benefits go far beyond the mouth; oil pulling supports the natural detoxification process of your whole body.
According to Ayurveda as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine, each part of the tongue represents a different organ. The heart, stomach, colon, kidneys, stomach, bladder, liver etc. all have their own place on the tongue. Keeping your mouth clean helps maintain a healthy immune system.
Many people have also experienced improved skin, more energy, better sleep and less headaches with regular oil pulling.
The best part is that anyone can oil pull. You don’t need any fancy, expensive formulas for it, just natural oil that you probably already have at home anyway and a few minutes a day.
That sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? But does oil pulling actually work and how do you go at it?
I’ve been oil pulling for over 5 years now and I love the health benefits. Where I notice it the most is in my mouth, although I believe it has a positive impact on my whole well-being.
Keep reading about how to easily incorporate oil pulling into your daily schedule, what to do and what not to do, plus other tips for oil pulling with coconut oil.
Which oil is best for oil pulling?
There are several oils you can use for oil pulling such as sesame oil and coconut oil.
I use coconut oil because of its powerful antimicrobial properties. It’s naturally antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. I also prefer the taste of coconut oil over sesame oil.
Research has shown that coconut oil is as effective as the chemical chlorhexidine in reducing streptococcus mutans, the most common organism causing cavities.
Use an organic, virgin coconut oil for oil pulling. Currently I am using a raw cold-pressed oil
that I bought in a small family-owned company in Bali.
This type of coconut oil is very pure and doesn’t contain any chemicals.
Oil pulling basics
My favorite moment to oil pull is in the morning right after I wake up, just before I brush my teeth.
Oil pulling works best on an empty stomach, before eating, drinking or cleaning your teeth.
Some people oil pull in the evening and I heard about people doing it twice a day.
There are many ways to do it, whatever works best for you and your schedule is fine.
I use about a tablespoon of coconut oil. The oil will dilute because of your saliva, so start out with a bit first. You want the amount of oil to be enough to do its work, while keeping it comfortable. With too much oil in your mouth, it gets harder to move it around without swallowing some of it, which you want to avoid. But more about that later.
You can use coconut oil at any consistency. It will be more liquid when temperatures rise and solid when it gets colder.
If you store your coconut oil in the fridge, just let it melt in your mouth. If you keep the oil in your cabinet, it will be much softer or even liquid.
It’s all about personal taste because it works exactly the same.
You can also make your own coconut oil pulling cubes with essential oils. I add clove, peppermint and thyme oils, which are very good for oral health. Make sure to use essential oils that are suitable for internal use!
Tips for oil pulling with coconut oil
Put a teaspoon with coconut oil in your mouth. You can start with a small amount and add more once you start getting more comfortable with oil pulling.
Gently swish the oil between your teeth, pulling it back and forth and around your mouth.
Try to cover all areas of your mouth.
The oil helps remove bacteria, plaque and whatever there is that doesn’t belong on your teeth and gums.
You can do it at a slow pace and take breaks when you need to. There really isn’t one ‘’right’’ way to do it.
Keep moving the oil around, especially between your teeth.
It’s recommended to oil pull for about 20 minutes so that the oil can do its work properly.
You can build this up over time.
Start out with a few minutes, see how it goes and take it from there.
It’s important not to swallow the oil. It literally pulls the waste that you want to get rid of and releases it into your mouth.
You want this out of your body and not back into your system.
Take the time to focus on what you are doing, don’t talk or do and take it easy while you’re oil pulling.
Don’t worry if you do swallow a bit, but ideally you want to spit it out when you are done.
I know that for many people mornings are busy, so adding another task might be challenging.
The good news is that you don’t have to wake up extra early if you want to oil pull in the morning!
Some good time saving tips for oil pulling with coconut oil are to do it while you do your regular morning things. For example while you take a shower, prepare breakfast or lunch to go, check your email, pick your outfit, style your hair etc.
After oil pulling
When you put the oil in your mouth or once it has melted, it will be transparent.
While you are pulling the bacteria out of your mouth, the oil will change into a white, milky color. This usually happens after 15-20 minutes and is an indication for that the oil has done its work.
You can now spit it out.
If you want to be on the safe side it’s best not to flush the oil down the drain.
Coconut oil becomes solid at low temperatures, so it might cause some build-up over time and potentially plug your pipes.
I personally have never had issues with it, but if you prefer you can spit it out in an empty container in your garbage.
When you’re done with oil pulling, flush your mouth with water a few times. You can optionally add some salt or baking soda to it which alkalizes the mouth.
Afterwards clean your mouth and brush your teeth as usual.
I use a tongue scraper twice a day and floss in the evening. I find that these things combined with oil pulling really keep my mouth fresh and clean and my teeth healthy.
My experience with oil pulling
I’ve been oil pulling daily on and off for the past five years. I usually do it for several months and then take a short break.
My mouth is noticeably cleaner and my teeth are whiter, which is a big plus. The difference in whiteness isn’t extreme, but it’s definitely noticeable.
In the past I used to have very sensitive gums, but oil pulling helped calm them down.
My dental check-ups have become much less frequent and my dentist always compliments me on having zero plaque and no cavities.
Oil pulling with coconut oil is a wonderful, natural addition to my daily self-care routine.