Everyone loves a healthy + bright smile, but is it worth the risk? In addition to potential nerve damage, studies show that we swallow 25% or more of the chemically loaded whitening products that come in the form of strips or trays. Does fluoride, tar, aspartame, aluminum or benzene sound tasty to you? I think it’s safe to say that we’d all like to find an organic alternative, and oil pulling is just that. Oil pulling was introduced to me by a naturopathic friend of mine who specializes in ayurvedic treatments and nutrition. I’ll be honest, I had to bite my tongue from laughing out loud at the concept, but her knowlege of healing (not to mention her bright white smile) convinced me to take on an experiment.
What is oil pulling?
From Natural News: Oil pulling is said to be a powerful means of maintaining good health as well as an effective cure for a variety of ills. This is an ancient technique, first described in 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic texts. The practice is simple. Soon after waking, before eating or brushing your teeth, swish your mouth with a spoonful of high quality oil in order to “pull” bacteria, parasites and other toxins from your teeth and mucus membranes. Swish the oil vigorously, pulling “through” the teeth, and side to side for 15-20 minutes. Deepak Chopra promotes the practice in his 2001 book, Perfect Health. Chopra notes that oil pulling is one of many Ayurvedic techniques valuable for purifying and strengthening the body. According to Ayurveda, organ meridians are present in the tongue just as they are in key points such as the hands, feet and ears. That makes the tongue integral for diagnosis, and care of the tongue important in preventing and treating illness.
The ancient practice of oil pulling makes sense in another way. As oil is swished back and forth before being spit out, the mouth`s mucous membranes and large veins on the underside of the tongue are likely to absorb vital nutrients from the oil. Sesame oil, one of the oils traditionally recommended for this practice, has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Plus it offers iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and phosphorus and vitamins A, B and E.
The practice of oil pulling has been shown effective at removing bacteria in the mouth. A two-week study at Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital in Chennai, India found that two weeks of oil pulling caused a significant reduction in Streptococcus mutans count, reduced plaque and modified gingival index scores.
According to oil swishing enthusiasts, the practice can:
After two weeks of oil pulling I had radiant clear skin and a bright white smile. (As in take that Crest Whitestrips, POW!) My gums looked healthier than ever before and my tongue was bright pink. Also, my digestion had improved significantly and my sinuses were perfectly clear. I used sesame oil for my original attempt, but most recently experimented with coconut oil thanks to this post by The Primitive Diva. The flavor of coconut oil is far more pleasant to swish! I plan to incorporate oil pulling in my detox experiment, as it was something I found to be beneficial.
My ayurvedic guru recommends sesame oil for the most intense detoxification experience, followed by coconut oil or olive oil. Be sure to use cold-pressed, organic oils for this process, and (don’t sue me) check with your healthcare provider before adding anything into your daily routine.