Ever wondered what oil-pulling is?

A friend posted on my I love coconut oil blog about how good coconut oil was for oil-pulling. What’s oil pulling I thought? So in CLC -style off I went to investigate and try it out …

First things first, what actually is it and where does it come from? Well, its an Ayurvedic  dental technique. What’s Ayurvedic I hear you ask? Here’s the good bit, it’s an over 3,000 year old Indian holistic healing system based on the principle that health and wellness depend on a balance between mind, body and spirit…sounds right up my street.

In Ayurvedic medicine, oil-pulling is known as ‘karbala’ or ‘gundusha’ and involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around your mouth for 20 minutes on an empty stomach. Doesn’t sound too palatable does it.

So you’ve put yourself through this, what benefits can you expect to see? It supposedly improves:

  • oral health such as stronger teeth, whiter teeth and improved gum health
  • draws out the toxins in your body, we all have these nasties floating around doing us no good
  • reduces headaches
  • improves hangovers
  • improves skin (such as acne and eczema)
  • improves general health

Different vegetable based oils can be used, but coconut oil is a good one as it tastes ok and this was the one that I tried. You need to use about a tablespoon full (although maybe start off with a smaller amount until you get used to it) and place this in your mouth. It will melt in your mouth quickly and basically you just need to ‘gently’ swish it around your mouth for 20 mins. Do not swish it around quickly like you would mouthwash, just gentle swishes.

You need to do this at a time when no-one is going to talk to you! Trying to explain that you have a mouthful of coconut oil swishing around your mouth without spitting it out could be a challenge! So some important planning is needed. Plus you will need to do this on an empty stomach.

The best time for me to do this was first thing in the morning, when no-one else is up but you may have other times the day that would work.

Some people report feeling sick when swishing or getting headaches, I did not find it either unpleasant or experience either of those things but everyone is different.

The longer that you swish the oil the more it will increase in size due to saliva. It feels weird but you’ll get used to it.

There are two important things, do not swallow the oil (i.e. don’t swallow the toxins you’ve just released) and do not spit it down the sink. What happens to coconut oil when it cools? Right … and that is what will happen to your drains, so you need to dispose of it in the bin. Follow with a rinse of salt water then brush your teeth and floss as normal.

In all fairness, there is no medical evidence that this is a viable technical to improve any of the list of things above. But as with most alternative medicines, if you feel that it works for you then that’s enough and regardless, coconut oil is good for you (see my blog I Love Coconut Oil).

I have only tried this a few times so cannot say at this stage that I saw benefits but I realise that I need to try it for longer. My friend that introduced it to me though has been doing this for a while and has experienced some good oral health benefits.

If you’ve tried oil-pulling, how did you find it? I’d love to hear your feedback.

National Smile Month runs from 15th May – 15th June and is operated by the Oral Health Foundation. This month is a great month to give oil-pulling a try to help improve your oral health.





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