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What is Oil Pulling and Why Should You Do It?

benefits of oil pulling

Just when you thought I couldn’t find another healthy use for oil. First there was the Oil Cleansing Method, then there was Oiling Your Hair, and the Abhyanga, now there is “oil pulling” an Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation “treatment” used for centuries.

Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom teaches links meridian points (energy points) of the mouth directly to the stomach.  Their philosophy is that when oil (Ayurvedic practitioners recommend sesame though I recommend alternating coconut oil with sesame) is swished around the mouth, teeth and tongue, that oil mixed with saliva enable the lymphatic system to flush toxins out of your body through the teeth, tongue and gums.

Before you think this is a bunch of hog mouth wash, think about this.  Gum disease is directly related to heart disease!

So why in the world would you want to put a spoon full of oil in your mouth anyway?  And what would it really do?  

The mouth is home to billions of viruses, bacteria (Streptococcus and Candida being two of the nastier ones) fungi, parasites and many other toxins.  These “beasties” and their toxic waste products are the major contributors to tooth decay and gum disease but are also contributors to inflammatory and immune disorders such as arthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc..  The immune system is constantly trying to fight off these offenders however, due to the strain on our immune system due to stress, a poor diet, environmental toxins, or an already preexisting medical condition, these unwelcome organisms can spread throughout our entire body and tax an already overburdened lymphatic and endocrine system; indeed, the entire body putting the body into a constant state of chronic inflammation.

When oil is introduced into the mouth it emulsifies saliva and turns it into a thinner liquid which is where the oil starts to pull the toxins out of the saliva.  As it swishes around the teeth, gums, tongue and oral cavity it pulls out even more toxins until it generally gets thicker and more viscous.  At this point, it is time to spit so as to prevent the toxins from being reabsorbed.  (NEVER EVER SWALLOW IT AS IT IS TOXIC!!) Usually this happens around the 20 minute mark though I recommend if you are new to oil pulling you start with 5 minutes and work your way up as it can be a little overwhelming (and a tiny bit nauseating) at first.

The best oils to use in oil pulling, in my opinion, are cold pressed sesame oil and extra virgin coconut oil.  Sesame oil, used for centuries, has a warming and lubricating effect on the body and is antibacteria.  It is also high in antioxidants and Vitamin E which help stop the absorption of negative forms of cholesterol in the liver,  whereas coconut oil is antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and enzymatic properties.  I recommend alternating the two every few days.  Cold pressed sesame oil should not have an overpowering “ick” factor. If it does, it is probably rancid.  I don’t recommend toasted sesame oil.

You will notice that this frees up any congestion in your throat and sinuses pretty quickly.  If you are a person with sinus problems oil pulling is an absolute must!  It also has the added benefit of whitening the teeth and naturally freshening breath.

The benefits for oral health are numerous.  Some include::

*Overall strengthening of the teeth and gums and jaws.
*Prevention of diseases of the gums and mouth, such as cavities and gingivitis.
*Fights chronic halitosis (bad breath)
*Holistic remedy for bleeding gums
*Lubricates oral cavity and provides relief from dryness of the lips, mouth and throat.
*Potential holistic treatment for TMJ and general soreness in the jaw area.

What is even more extraordinary is it has the ability to affect the entire body positively.

Some potential issues oil pulling has been known to benefit are::

*Relief from Migraine Headaches
*Clearer Skin
*Can help correct hormone imbalances
*Regulated menstrual cycles
*Helps reduce inflammation of arthritis
*May help with gastroenteritis and help heal GI tract
*Strengthens lymphatic system aiding in detox
*Aids in the reduction of eczema
*Helps reduce symptoms of bronchitis
*Helps support normal kidney function
*Can reduce chronic sinus congestion
*May help improve vision
*Reduces insomnia and improves overall sleep patterns
*Helps reduce pain (great for fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers)
*Reduces the symptoms of allergies
*Helps detoxify the body of harmful metals and organisms

How do I practice oil pulling?

I recommend doing this first thing in the morning (though you can do it any time during the day) by placing about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.  If you are using coconut oil and it is solidified, do melt it in warm water before putting it in your mouth if you don’t want to gag!  Start swishing it all around your mouth, like you are using mouthwash.  I recommend doing this in the shower so you aren’t focusing on the actual time.  In the beginning, often that first five minutes is excruciatingly slow.  If you do it as a course of getting ready for the day and then spit and rinse you will find you do it for longer.

Rinse your mouth a few times.  In the beginning brushing your teeth afterward may help the residual taste but as you get used to it, you might even find that you don’t use your toothbrush as much.  I have noticed my teeth much brighter and my mouth just feels cleaner overall.  I have added it as a permanent part of my slow beauty routine.  Not only do my teeth and gums thank me but I notice I am less “puffy” and bloated during pregnancy as a result!


18 replies
  1. mary
    mary says:

    Who’d ever have thought it? Yet, it makes sense. When using the oil cleansing method it does feel like the oil is “pulling” impurities out of the face/pores – so I suppose in a way that is a kind of de-toxification and this method is doing it internally.
    I worry I will accidently swallow it but I will give it a try! I’ll have to get hold of some good sesame seed oil first though.
    Thanks again, Detox Diva for waking us up to all the amazing healthy things we can incorporate into our lives, simply and cheaply!

  2. Becky Jane
    Becky Jane says:

    I love getting new information to help my body heal. This sounds so interesting. I have a big container of coconut oil coming soon. This tip is one that I’m sharing with my whole family. Do you think adding a drop of essential oils would hinder the pulling process? Just wondering about making it more tasty for the kids.

    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      The oil pulling shouldn’t have a negative effect on mercury fillings. Chewing does enough of that. Frankly, it’s not going to help the mercury leave your system, but it is protective enough it might minimize SOME of the damage. Best to remove the offending fillings and replace them ASAP.

      • Becky Jane
        Becky Jane says:

        I had mine removed several years ago and immediately noticed an increase in my ability to fight my chronic illness. It felt like I was no longer fighting a loosing battle.

  3. Michele L
    Michele L says:

    Hi Diva,
    I am so happy to see a post that recommends oil pulling. I have been oil pulling for close to three years now. Twice a day, and it does all of the things you mention and more. Sometimes it makes my mouth so clean, I forget to brush my teeth before leaving the house. In fact, I like the clean oil pulled feel of my mouth so much, that I oil pull a little after brushing, because who needs all of the toxins from commercial tooth paste in their mouth. My mouth is very health. No cavities or gum issues for the past three years. And yesterday I just had my eyes examined and got a clean bill of health from the D.O. Last week, my husband and I went to a class reunion. (we are 60 years of age) and we were the youngest looking couple, had the least amount of health issues and very little in the aches and pain department. I am a very active person. I have little to no arthritis issues. I do live a healthy life style and have for years, but the oil pulling, (I believe) has really improved my over all health. I am looking forward to 60 more healthy active years of life. I hope this convinces some of your followers to try oil pulling. PS I pull with EVCO ,and most recently, Hemp Oil, which I just love!!! Thanks for your time.

    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      I am so thrilled when I hear about people that actually practice what I preach. 🙂 It’s wonderful to hear your health successes and yes, I am a big believer in oil pulling for balancing all kinds of issues!

  4. Brooke Alexa
    Brooke Alexa says:

    Hello Detox Diva!
    I just stumble onto your site and am loving it!! Lucky find! I like the idea of the oil pulling! How often would you suggest doing this to make it an effective practice?
    Thanks! xoxo

    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      It’s nice to meet you Brooke. I would recommend oil pulling every day. I do it in the morning before I eat or drink anything and it makes all the difference!


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