It’s been almost a year since I started practicing oil pulling every morning just after waking up.

Being an ex-engineer, I approach any new method with a healthy dose of skepticism and analyze it meticulously before practicing it. This method sounded so simple and logical, though, so I just had to add it to my daily morning routine as soon as I read about it. I think I’ll be practicing it until the end of my days, as long as I have enough money to buy coconut oil of course!

Oil pulling is actually an ancient Ayurvedic method. (Ayurveda means “the Science of Life / Knowledge of Life” and is a holistic healing system developed in India, possibly as far back as 5,000 years ago.)

It is referred to as Kavala Graham in Ayurvedic texts and recommended for dental health, but because of its detoxifying effects, those who practice it enjoy various other health benefits.

So, it all sounds very logical.

We all know how our mouths make wonderful breeding grounds for bacteria, germs, and other microbes. When we rinse our mouth with some oil, all the bacteria and germs that were hidden in the various crevices in the gums, tongue, and teeth are sucked out and held in the oil. By doing this, we not only get healthier teeth and gums—by detoxifying our mouth and preventing toxins from reaching our body through saliva, we get healthier in general.

How to do oil pulling?

Preferably first thing in the morning, you rinse your mouth with a tablespoon of an organic oil for about 20 minutes. You don’t have to swish hard. In fact, do it gently. The important thing is to move the oil around enough so that it reaches every part of the mouth. Again, the timing is important, because it takes at least 15-20 minutes to completely detoxify your mouth. Your mouth will gradually fill with liquid, because the oil gets mixed with saliva, but bear with it! After 20 minutes, spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm water before brushing your teeth.

Some recommendations:

  • Ayurveda generally suggests sesame oil, but you can use any organic oil you like. Personally, since I don’t like the idea of putting oil in my mouth first thing in the morning, I prefer to use virgin coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, as you can see on the picture. I also really like the taste of it. Later, when I read about its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, I congratulated myself on my wise choice!
  • As the oil mixes with your saliva, it becomes a voluminous liquid that can quickly fill your mouth. To get used to this feeling, it’s better to start with half a tablespoon and build up to a whole tablespoon gradually. If you find it hard to keep so much liquid in your mouth for such a long time, you can begin with 10 minutes and gradually step up to 20 minutes.
  • Never, ever swallow! Never forget that the liquid in your mouth is collecting toxins and bacteria! You don’t want to send them to your body all at once, because that would toxify instead of detoxify! If it gets unbearable, spit it out instead.
  • Never spit it in the sink! This will clog your pipes after a while. I spit into the toilet, but a trash bin is also an idea.
  • If you hurry in the mornings like me and don’t have 20 minutes to do it calmly in front of the mirror, combine it with your morning activities. I start just before taking a shower, so all the time I spend showering, applying body lotion, and getting dressed, I’m also oil pulling. Therefore I get to swish for 15-20 minutes. If you’re really in a hurry, doing it for just 10 minutes is better than not doing it at all.

Benefits

If you scan the Internet for “Oil Pulling,” you’ll probably see all kind of benefits besides the classic healthy teeth and gums, such as reducing migraines, getting healthier skin, healing sinusitis, and so on.

These are the benefits I noticed since I started oil pulling:

  • Teeth whitening: It’s of course not like a dentist’s whitening, but there is a clear visible difference.
  • No more tartar: Every time I went to the dentist, he would scrape off tartar. I hated the sensation of this, but now it doesn’t happen.
  • No more bleeding gums: My gums used to bleed from time to time, although not that often. Now they don’t at all anymore!
  • No colds or flu: I used to be the queen of colds and flu. I even managed to get them in summertime. Well, it’s happened just once this year!

Even if it’s just for the benefits above, it’s such a simple procedure, so it must be worth practicing it! Why not give it a try?