There are many ancient practices that are being resurrected and lauded for their ability to support our health and well-being. These health practices come from all over the world, though some of the most time-tested and popular techniques are drawn from Ayurveda, Indias ancient science of life. One such practice is called oil pulling, and it is now being used by many people to improve their health and quality of life.

What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling sounds a bit archaic, but it is actually a fairly simple technique that almost anyone can practice. It is swishing a small amount of high quality oil through the mouth, working it between the teeth and around the gums and tongue. Oil pulling supports the strength, cleanliness, and overall health of the mouth and the rest of the body.

Why Does Gum Health Matter?

The gums are the frontline of defense for the entire body. They are directly connected to the cardiovascular system. A build up of bacteria or a virus in the gums can affect the blood, the heart, and the entire body.

What Are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling has numerous benefits. It draws toxins out of the gums before they have a chance to enter the blood stream. It strengthens tooth enamel and reduces plaque. It has been shown to reduce microbes that decay teeth. In one study, the presence of oral bacteria was reduced 20 percent in 40 days of oil pulling. Cavities can be reduced by as much as 50 percent with more long-term usage.

Oil pulling also serves a protective function. Oil pulling strengthens tooth enamel, reduces gum inflammation, and helps repair damaged gums. The lipids in the oil make it more challenging for bacteria to stick to teeth and gums. It can also relive bad breath and whiten teeth.

Oil pulling can support other systems in the body. It pulls toxins from every organ, since every organ is connected to the bloodstream. It helps clear the skin, improves digestion, and supports the liver and kidneys. Oil pulling stimulates the lymphatic system and can alleviate allergies and help clear sinuses. Because of how it stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems and all the digestive organs, oil pulling also helps to balance hormones.

How Do I Oil Pull?

Oil pulling is actually one of the simplest health care routines you can practice. First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, take 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed, extra virgin organic oil and swish it around your mouth for 20 minutes. Traditionally sesame oil was used, but modern practitioners also use coconut and olive oil. Coconut oil has the most pleasant taste and even more bacteria-fighting properties.

Whatever oil you use must be food grade, and from a plant source. It should be unheated and as close to pure as possible, and definitely organic.

Be very careful that you do not swallow any of the oil, you do not want to re-absorb the toxins you are drawing out. It can be uncomfortable and challenging at first to build up that much saliva without swallowing, but most people get the hang of it within a few days.

After 10 20 minutes (you can use the time to read, plan your day, contemplate your dreams, or take a shower) spit the oil into a trash can or compost pile. While a little bit of oil in your bathroom sink is probably fine, if this becomes a daily practice you will want to spit the oil in the trash, instead, to keep from clogging your drains. 10 minutes is the minimum for effective toxin pulling, and do not go longer than 20 minutes. The oil/saliva mix will most likely be white and viscous when you spit it out.

Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth. Using a tongue scrapper is also a good idea at this time. Then drink a liter of room temperature water to hydrate the organs that were just detoxed.

Some people experience a cleansing reaction the first few days of oil pulling that can include mild stomach upset, headache, or a nasal drip. Using a neti pot can help with those symptoms, but they are nothing to worry about.

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that offers many benefits to modern health-seekers. Like most traditional treatments it is a slow process, not a quick fix. But with daily use over time oil pulling can strengthen and nourish the teeth and gums. It also draws toxins out of the bloodstream, supporting the health of the heart and all the organs. Add this simple technique to your morning self-care routine to help keep your pearly whites shiny and strong for years to come.