My journey with oil pulling began on a very vain note; I wanted whiter teeth. On a few different dentist visits the well-meaning hygienists suggested, without me inquiring, that my teeth could be much whiter if I started using custom whitening trays. Considering I thought my teeth looked fine (albeit aging gracefully), I was somewhat put off by these suggestions.
I began to think that perhaps I should invest in these trays and did a little research.
- The active ingredient in teeth whitening is carbamide peroxide, a peroxide-bleaching agent
- Teeth whiteners are not classified as drugs, therefore the FDA does not regulate them
- Pregnant and lactating women should not use a teeth whitening system
- People under 13 should not use a teeth whitening system
- Most common side effects are gum sensitivity and tissue irritation if swallowed
Although my research was unclear how “safe” these bleaching ingredients were, I felt uneasy about putting trays of gel in my mouth for 1-4 hours at a time with the potential to accidentally ingest some of the ingredients that could inflame my body. Also what about the gel that gets on your gums? We are surrounded by toxins every day, the last thing I needed was to add another potential toxin to my already compromised immune system.
I decided to research alternative methods and discovered oil pulling.
I say “discovered” loosely as this is an ancient technique with its roots deep in Ayurveda, yet it has also become a recent trend in the health + wellness community. More important than just teeth whitening, I learned about the myriad health benefits associated with this technique including:
- Joint Health
- Heart Health
- Immune Health
- Circulatory Health
- Reduced Teeth Sensitivity
- Gum Health
Also a BONUS surprise benefit for me, daily oil pulling helps to reduce my TMJ! For this reason alone I oil pull every day and have been doing so now for a year and a half. Whether my teeth have become whiter, I’m not really sure nor do I really care, as all of these health benefits outweigh any vain attempt for whiter teeth. (as an aside, since starting this practice, I have not been recommended teeth whitening services anymore. Coincidence?)
What Exactly IS Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an ancient ritual that dates back 3,000 years which involves swishing oil in your mouth and “pulling” it through your teeth for approximately 20 minutes as soon as you wake up. Recommended oils are sesame, olive, or coconut oil. I use coconut oil as I love the taste and it contains anti-bacterial properties. It is recommended you use one tablespoon of oil. Once you have sufficiently pulled, it is very important to discard the oil into the trash, and do not swallow it! The oil contains all of the toxins that you are trying to rid from your body. Afterwards rinse your mouth with water and brush with toothpaste (flouride-free is recommended).
Why Oil Pull?
The oil acts as a cleanser pulling toxins out of our mouths, and our bodies, that we accumulate from every day life. Although 20 minutes a day might seem daunting, it is easy if you do it in conjunction with another task. I do it while I am making the kids’ lunches for school each morning. If I don’t have time for the full 20 minutes, I at least do 10.
If I need an extra boost of immune support, I add essential oils depending on the issue. Lemon if I’m fighting a cold, Clove if I’m having mouth issues, and Oregano for swollen glands.
To purchase oils from my trusted product partner, you may visit HERE.
Although I certainly cannot prove if any of these health claims by oil pulling have scientific backing, Dr. John Douillard, who specializes in Ayurveda, has does some research on this topic and he would be a good resource if you are interested in learning more.
Have you ever tried oil pulling? If not would you ever start? Please leave a comment below of your experience. Happy pulling!