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Oil pulling - It whitens your teeth, improves your breath, helps your skin and even helps increase energy. So why isn’t everyone doing it?
I’ve been oil pulling for about six months now and, being someone who has always been slightly ocd about oral health, I wanted to share this ayurvedic practice because it genuinely works!
What is it?
Oil pulling is literally the practice of swishing about a tablespoon of oil around your mouth, first thing in a morning (and on an empty stomach in general) for about 15-20 minutes. It originated in india thousands of years ago, but has been increasingly used medically in the us and uk since the 1990s. The idea is that the scummy layer that builds up in your mouth overnight sticks in the oil so you can spit it out. This is different to just brushing your teeth in the morning, where you move the bacteria around your mouth a bit rather than completely removing it.
What are the benefits?
There are many claims worldwide from people who have experienced benefits from oil pulling, including help with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems etc. However, the main and direct benefits of oil pulling are:
- Whiter teeth
- Healthier gums
- Less sensitive teeth
- Better breath
- Strengthens teeth, jaw and gums
- Prevents mouth bleeding and diseases
How do I do it?
If this sounds like something you think you’ll benefit from, this is how to get started:
1. Get some oil!
Traditionally, people oil pull with either sesame oil or coconut oil. I now alternate between the two, but I would recommend doing it with coconut oil as it has added health benefits and tastes nice!
2. When you wake up in the morning, before you brush your teeth, get one tablespoon of oil and put it in your mouth.
This might sound like an extra thing to do in the morning, but I find that I wake up and am oil pulling while I get showered/dressed. Once you then spit the oil out, you can brush your teeth. Note: you must swish the oil round your mouth for at least 15 minutes, because otherwise all of the scum won’t get into the oil. You’ll know if you’ve done it right if the oil goes from being clear (when you first put it in your mouth) to being thicker and white.
3. Spit it out into the bin or toilet, not the sink.
When the bacteria is in the oil, it becomes pretty gross (even toxic, some say). So it needs to be spat out where it can be disposed of. Ideally you should spit it into the bin because the oil can clog up the pipes. However, I usually spit it into the toilet, and spray a bit of bathroom cleaner down there before I flush for good measure!
4. Inspect your clean, sparkly teeth and brush your teeth as normal.
It’s as simple as that! I will usually clean my tongue with an ayurvedic tongue scraper after I oil pull, then brush my teeth with a toothpaste without fluoride or sodium laureth sulfate. However, you can just do whatever it is you usually do!