When I first heard about oil pulling, I was really excited. I loved the idea! Swishing oil around in your mouth for twenty minutes? Bring it on, I can totally handle it. How hard can it be? I can wake up in the morning, watch an episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and swish at the same time. Boyfriend and I can do it together, it will be amazing!
I looked farther into it, but all I really saw online were testimonials from people who had succeeded with oil pulling, or skeptics. I came across this forum which was really helpful, but difficult to navigate. I didn’t really find anyone who shared their experience beyond “It was a bit weird at first… but then.” I wanted to yell “What was weird about it!? I want embarrassing details!” I knew I would have some, and I knew I would share!
Even though I didn’t find anything really embarrassing, I did learn about what oil pulling is, and how it is supposed to help you. The list is long and includes the elimination of bags under your eyes, addiction relief, elimination of body odour, along with all-round better oral hygiene. I don’t have any addictions to conquer, or any major health problems. Well, not ones that were on the lists and lists on all the websites I visited. But I admit, my oral hygiene has fallen to the wayside a bit, and if I’m going to be concerned about the things I put into my mouth and eat, I think I should also be concerned about how I take care of my mouth, and how I keep it squeeky clean. So I put together a short explanation, and my personal experience, along with a list of helpful (to me) reference to let you decide for yourself whether to try it out!
The Basics of Oil Pulling
- Use 1 tbsp of oil (sesame is recommended and traditional, but people use coconut, olive, safflower and sunflower as well with varying degrees of results)
- “Swish” for 15 to 20 minutes a day before eating or drinking anything.
- Do not swallow the oil.
- Do not gargle with the oil.
- Spit, rinse with water, spit, rinse.
Day One: Oh my gosh, I have literally dribbled all over myself , and my jaw hurts like no one’s business. I think I’ve been swishing too hard. Treating oil like mouthwash is such a workout, and one tablespoon of oil is so much in my small mouth. On top of that, all I want to do do is swallow. This was the worst idea ever.
Day Three: Dribbling problem has subsided, but I still swish with a tea towel around my neck like a child. I’ve learned to relax my jaw a bit, and it doesn’t hurt as much to swish, but one measured tablespoon is still way too much for me. I found somewhere that every time you want to swallow, spit out the oil and start again. “Start again” apparently does not mean “start again until you swish for 20 minutes without swallowing”. “Start again” means “Swish until you’ve reached 20 minutes of swishing total.” I wish I had found that advice sooner, I’ve wasted like… 1/3 cup of oil.
Day Five: I’ve given up on one tablespoon. Now it’s about one big kitchen spoon (the one that’s not a dessert spoon). No more dribbles! No more jaw hurting! I have less of an urge to swallow, and I’ve told myself that it’s okay to swallow a little bit. If I can taste a lot of the sesame oil going down my throat, then it’s too much oil, and the next time I feel the urge to swallow, I spit and start again. This might not be so bad after all.
Day Seven: After one week, my teeth do look a bit brighter, and I’ve finally remembered to floss. Usually my gums bleed a lot, hurt the next day and my gums swell up in one or two places in my mouth. But this time the bleeding wasn’t as severe and I didn’t have any of the after effects I usually do. I’m not experiencing increased energy or anything, but I do like the way that my teeth feel. The plaque on the back of my bottom teeth falls off with brushing, and I’ve never felt my teeth as “dentist-y fresh” as one week of oil pulling.
Day Fourteen: My teeth certainly are brighter. No bleeding at all when I floss. I rarely want to swallow, and when I do I don’t taste the oil. No embarrassing dribbles, a really clean mouth feel. Boyfriend tried, and he hated it, so I doubt he’ll keep it up. I tried coconut oil. Ew ew ew ew ew. I don’t care how good it tastes, the fact that you have to “chew it” in order to make it liquid made me gag and I spat out three perfectly good tablespoons. Worst thing ever for me. Tasted delicious though.
Day Twenty One: I missed three out of the past seven days, and I can really feel the difference. My mouth feels gross and fuzzy and I’m experiencing gum bleeding again. At the very least, I know that oil pulling works for my gum health. My teeth are much less sensitive too, I don’t have as many problems with the colder temperatures.
Day Twenty Eight: Oil pulling is now officially a part of my morning routine! I really do like what it does for my mouth. I don’t notice the effects elsewhere. My skin is just as regular as it always is, and my hair is just as flat, lifeless and dull. I haven’t felt the urge to quit chewing my nails yet though, if that even counts as an addiction. But I am growing them out, having kept them out of my mouth for a month, and they do feel much stronger and not as brittle, which is something I have always battled with. My teeth haven’t gotten any whiter than Day Fourteen, but that’s okay.
Over this month, I never experienced any dramatic change to my overall well being, but what I did experience in my mouth has made this experiment worthwhile. I encourage you to at least be open to trying, or looking into it. Below are a list of links that I found really useful and informative, instead of just singing the praises of oil pulling.
What about you? Have you tried?
Baseline of Health Foundation: Oil Pulling Detox? No, but for Strong Immunity (this one was my personal favourite)
Natural News: Heal and Detox with Oil Pulling
How to Detox mouth by Oil Pulling
Simple Homemade.net: My attempt at this crazy thing called oil pulling