i first heard of this practice – oil pulling – a few years ago on a facebook for hippies site called “tribe,” where a lot of alternative thinkers would post questions and solutions, most with a decidedly natural bent. i was looking for carcinogen-free toothpaste recommendations and saw a post about oil pulling. it was interesting but i did not try it.
fast forward to last fall when i was becoming aware of the wonders of coconut oil. i was fighting a cold and there was a recommendation i saw online for mixing coconut oil with eucalyptus oil and putting it on the bottom of your feet to clear sinuses. it seemed like a better (less malodorous) idea than the bowls of chopped onions i put around the house last year. the same thread mentioned oil pulling. several commenters chimed in with anecdotes of oil pulling easing everything from tooth decay to rheumatoid arthritis – head colds, blood sugar stability, cramps, asthma, back pain, skin problems, the works.
i bought a jar of unrefined cold pressed virgin coconut oil and was happy with how it plus eucalyptus helped my cold.
i figured the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling might be worth a shot.
basically you put a tablespoonful of oil (unrefined coconut or sesame seem to be the most popular) in your mouth and swish it around for 10-20 minutes, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. i floss my teeth beforehand so the space between my teeth is bigger. after swishing through your teeth, you spit it out in a jar or trash can *NOT DOWN THE DRAIN* and rinse with warm salt water and then brush your teeth as usual.
bonus is the lovely trippy layered tiers of half solidified – half liquid coconut oil collected in the jar!
i have been doing this for 2 months now. i can report my mouth feels terrific! i cannot attest to any other health improvements at this point, though i usually have a sore throat/ear pain at least every other week in the winter, and i have not had a hint of either since starting. considering i spend many hours per week in the germ nest of thrift stores, and we went on a floating petri dish carnival cruise, i am pretty happy.
it seems that western science has proven oil pulling to have a positive effect on oral health, though the other hundreds of benefits have not yet been verified scientifically. i have a baby tooth – a molar that doesn’t have an adult molar to push it out – and i would like to keep this baby tooth as long as possible before i need an implant. i am hoping oil pulling will at least help in this endeavor.
i will keep you all updated on this riveting oil pulling journey. i have my 6 month dentist appointment in april and i am interested to see if the hygienist can tell a difference.
at the bare minimum, it serves as a kind of meditation. for 20 minutes every day i am not talking.
as an aside: how great is talenti gelato and sorbetto? the mango is out of this world!