Up until two months ago, oil pulling was a foreign concept, almost as foreign to me as actually visiting a dental office. From a young age, I’ve had a hate-hate relationship with the dental chair. If you’ve ever heard about that select group of people that have fabulous oral hygiene habits, but still hit the dental lottery of cavities despite their flossing and brushing regime — I am one of those winners.
While at our latest yoga get together, a select handful of ladies began talking about oil pulling . Chances are, if you’ve found this post, you already have a handle on what oil pulling is. If not, “Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional folk remedy where oil is “swished” (kavala graha) or “held” (snigda gandoosha) in the mouth,” according to Wikipedia.
You’ve decided to start oil pulling, now what?
Oil Pulling Essentials
So you have a firm handle on what to expect. What do you need? A spoon, a virgin – bottle of coconut oil that is, you can also use sunflower, or sesame oil and essential oil (optional).
How many times have you eaten a substantial helping of peanut butter off a spoon ? That is a good guesstimate of the amount of oil you’ll need to use (about 1 tablespoon, so upon further consideration, not my average mound of peanut butter). Personally, I love adding a drop of peppermint essential oil to the mix. The smell of peppermint and the taste triggers a mental switch in my mind that it’s part of an oral regime.
Another essential oil that people love to use while oil pulling is Thieves from Young Living, with it’s spicy aroma, it pairs nicely with the coconut oil. The beauty of essential oils, is that you can pick one that you’re drawn to for use. Just be sure to verify that it is therapeutic grade and you can safely ingest it. When using oils, do your research – we will be posting about essential oils regularly with guest bloggers, so stay tuned.
Once you’re done pulling, ALWAYS spit the oil into the trash, or a bottle and then throw it out, otherwise it will clog your drain. A benefit of oil pulling is to pull toxins out of your mouth and body, why would you want to swallow that? Ick.
Oil pulling is 10% action, and 90% determination. Perhaps an odd percentage combination, but let me explain. For 20 minutes, you are swishing, sucking and pulling oil all over your mouth. If you survive the first 45 seconds to one minute of allowing the oil to melt in your mouth, half of your battle is already won. For the next 19 minutes, your survival instincts will be in full effect. Your jaw will get tired, your patience will diminish and your mind will repeatedly ask you what on earth made you decide that this was a good idea. Your eyes will dart to the clock and/or timer and your heart will drop when you realize you still have 18 1/2 minutes to go. Is oil pulling really that bad? For some, yes. For others, it’s an almost cathartic experience.
Chances are, you won’t survive 20 whole minutes the first time you do it or maybe even the 8th or 9th go around — build up to that. In the long run, it will make survival of the process that much easier. I promise. But keep in mind how amazing you will feel when you can finally stand the process for a whole 20 minutes. Victory.
While there are no official studies to support claims, it is said that oil pulling can help with overall oral health, cavities, and dental issues. It is a method that has been used on the holistic front for ages. If you’re having dental issues, or just want to experiment with your overall oral health, at least trying oil pulling may be worth your time.
What is the experience really like?
For roughly two months now, I’ve become a serial puller. While it takes about a week to ten days to notice any real difference, it comes, and when it does, you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it before.
Personally, I never had an issue with the texture of the melting coconut oil and from the start, I was determined to train myself to pull for 20 minutes. I didn’t build my way up to the 20 minutes, (although I strongly suggest it), but powered through the practice daily until it had become second nature.
Most people suggest pulling first thing in the morning, but as someone wisely said, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” My mornings are a blur, and while I would love to start the day with this practice, I choose to do it in the evening before bed. The feeling of pulling before bed, and going to sleep with clean teeth is satisfying for me. Of note, you do not need to brush after pulling, although I do. I would suggest trying it both ways and feeling out what feels best for you. I enjoy the added brushing effect post pulling, perhaps because I’ve been conditioned to brush my teeth for decades!
In my own experience, my teeth are much whiter and my mouth generally feels cleaner and refreshed. The biggest positive in terms of my mouth, is a noticeable reduction in pain from a tooth that has been bothering me for almost a year now. The pain was so bad that I trained myself to chew on one side of my mouth, I couldn’t bear to brush my tongue against my tooth without pain, etc. I no longer need to fear chewing food on the left side of my mouth, and the nagging discomfort has begun to cease. For me, that’s a win.
Although I wish that I had the foresight to promise oil pulling will work for you, it’s a journey you need to try on your own. A journey that you may love, or one that you may decide just is not for you. Like anything, you never know until you try.
You’re ready to give it a go: 10 Things to do While Oil Pulling
10. Catch up on the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
9. Hit the kitchen and try this recipe from The Pink Puck for No-Bake Peanut Butter, Cranberry, Chocolate Chunk Bars
8. Meditate for 7 minutes, journal for 13 minutes.
7. Play with your favorite pet, belly rubs for the cat, fetch for the dog.
6. Start meal prep for your (or your family’s) breakfast, lunch or dinner.
5. Hop on YouTube and get in a mini, gentle yoga practice. Is downward swishing dog a thing?
4. Start laundry, fold laundry, match that pile of socks you’ve been staring at for a week.
3. Do any light chores that need to be done around the house.
2. Catch up on emails, social media, etc.
and the number 1 best thing to do while oil pulling …
1. Shower! Seriously, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the time goes by if you pop the oil in your mouth as you start to get ready for your daily shower routine.
How do you spend your 20 minutes of oil pulling? Comment below!
Disclaimer: I am not a dental professional, this post is strictly based on personal experience.