3500 years ago, Vedic healers in India discovered that swishing a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth not only eliminates bad breath and makes the teeth stronger, but seems to speed up the body’s recovery from a number of major illnesses and also promotes longevity. This method is known as in the western world now know it as oil-pulling.

In Ayurveda, one of the major schools of traditional medicine, they say that oil pulling is highly therapeutic for over 30 systemic diseases. Aside from folk medicine, there are several studies on oil pulling. One study from the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) states: “Oil pulling activates salivary enzymes which absorb toxins such as chemical toxins, bacterial toxins and environmental toxins from the blood… Thus, oil pulling detoxifies and purifies the entire human body.” In our clinic, we’ve noticed anecdotally that oil pulling helps with nearly all mouth pains, including ulcers of any sort, cavities, damaged gums, and even the pain and swelling that result from accidentally biting the inside of your cheek.

As it is swished around your mouth, the lipids (or fatty acids) in the oil naturally extract these potentially harmful substances from your teeth, gums and saliva glands, including plaque.

How to Oil Pull:

  • Place a tablespoon of your oil of choice (sesame, sunflower, coconut are preferred) in your mouth.
  • Swish in mouth, forcing through all teeth and across all areas of your gums. (Really aim to get the oil into every nook and cranny of your mouth. This is very important. Billions of microorganisms dwell in the oral cavity and the mouth is the start of digestion.)
  • Perform this for 5-20 minutes, ideally early in the morning before breakfast daily. This can feel pretty weird to the novice oil puller, so beginning with 5 minutes of swishing and working up to the full 20 minutes is advised. It’s helpful to occupy yourself with some mundane thing, like doing dishes or some other mindless domestic task, while oil pulling.  It takes the focus off the oil in your mouth!
  • Spit the oil out in a garbage can, not the sink. This avoids the risk of clogging your drain!

For faster healing and recovery, do this before every meal or 3 times per day.

 It’s important that you spit the oil out afterward – don’t swallow it, as it has now pulled unwanted substances from your body!

Great oils for oil pulling:

  • Sesame oil – proven to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-anxiety, and anti-plaque effects. Rich in zinc, sesame oil is awesome for longevity and vitality. Tyrosine in sesame oil is linked to serotonin and boosting mood levels as well as relieving anxiety. Sesame oil is high in copper, known to reduce inflammation and contains chlorosesamone, an antifungal agent. It’s also effective against strep-causing bacteria.
  • Sunflower oil – has anti-plaque and beneficial gingival effects, and is effective against candida.
  • Coconut oil –  anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and is effective against Strep, Candida and Staph. It’s also an antiseptic and makes for a wonderful cut cleaner.