Coconut oil. Olive oil. Sesame oil. Put a glob in and swish it around for 20 minutes. Try not to gag, or look ridiculous.
This is an ayurvedic practice called oil pulling, and practitioners swear by its healing properties. Oil pulling is said to cure oral problems, and headaches, in addition to a myriad of other ailments. All across the internet you can find people touting it’s benefits, from Wellness Mama to chef Carla Hall.
According to Wellness Mama, “The practice of oil pulling started in India thousands of years ago, and from my research, was first introduced to the United States in the early 1990s by a medical doctor named Dr. F. Karach, who used it with success in his medical practice.”
The purported benefits are: whiter teeth, healthier gums, and better breath.
What is oil pulling, and how do you do it?
Oil pulling is really simple. You take a tablespoon or two of sesame, coconut, or olive oil, and swish it around your mouth for 20 minutes. Push the oil back and forth through your teeth. The oil grabs bacteria and pulls it out (clever name, right?). Take care not to swallow any of this oil or you’ll swallow all the nasties you’re trying to get out.
It’s best to do oil pulling in the morning when you wake up, and before you’ve had anything to eat. After you’ve pulled, rinse your mouth out with water, and brush your teeth like normal.
You should do it for a few weeks, although some people say they see results in as soon as a few days. Carla Hall recommends unrefined sesame oil, although some people find the taste unpleasant.
Does it really work?
Well, to be honest, I don’t know. I haven’t been able to get past the mouth-feel issue long enough to give it an honest try. My first few attempts were with coconut oil, but the texture changed in my mouth, and I wasn’t a fan of that.
My next attempt was with sesame oil. I’ve never been able to make it more than 30 seconds. But I’m going to keep trying, and I’ll report back with my results.
How has oil pulling worked for you? Are you grossed out by it, or do you have no problem? Let me know in the comments.