Does oil pulling do the miracles it often is associated with? Not likely, but it may just be able to help you achieve better oral health.
What Is Oil Pulling?
A few weeks ago one of my readers dropped me a link on Facebook and asked me if I had heard of “oil pulling.” I hadn’t, so I clicked on her link and took a look.
As I was reading the article behind that link I was quite stunned that I had never heard of this before and was completely intrigued. The article essentially described oil pulling as an ancient therapy to “detox” your body, balance blood sugar, help with liver and health problems in general, whiten teeth, heal sensitive gums, take care of skin problems, get rid of allergies – the list goes on and on and on.
I spent the next few days trying to find more info and, to be honest, was quite skeptical. Things just seemed way too good to be true. According to oil pulling fans, all disease starts in the mouth, which are supposed to be a reflection of the health inside of our bodies. If you have poor dental health, you supposedly have other health problems, and the oil will pull the responsible toxins from your body by way of the mouth’s blood vessels. Which is a bit illogical, as the toxins in the blood are supposed to be water-soluble and water and oil don’t really mix. The blood vessels in the mouth are also really tiny.
Trying It Out
But I thought, ok, what do I have to lose, I’m gonna try this for a few weeks and see if I notice any difference, maybe it will at least do my gums and teeth some good.
See, I have a problem with really sensitive front lower teeth, making it sometimes quite painful to brush and even eat. Because they are so sensitive, I can’t brush them for too long, which over time made the lower part of my bottom teeth turn a bit yellow. Yuck! It was driving me crazy. The teeth in the back have had similar problems, it’s been happening for so many years that I’ve just learned to live with it. If oil pulling did anything for that, it would have already done enough of a job for me.
So I went and did the oil pulling as advised: every morning put a table-spoon of sunflower or coconut oil in your mouth, swish the oil around for twenty minutes, but make sure to do this before breakfast and do not swallow the oil.
Twenty minutes sound like a very long time to be walking around with oil in our mouth, but it’s actually not that bad. You can walk around and do other things while you’re swishing the oil in your mouth. It’s also recommended that you spit out the oil after the first ten minutes and then take a fresh tablespoon for the next ten. When you are finished, brush your teeth after, that’s all.
I can tell you for sure that I wasn’t imaging when I brushed my teeth after oil pulling for the first time and they looked whiter. The next day this effect increased and within a further three days, the sensitivity was completely gone. After a week the yellow bottom part of my teeth had whitened. I was stunned and exited at the same time because here I was suffering with terrible sensitivity and it seems the oil pulling did do some good here.
Emulsify Your Mouth
There is very little evidence for oil pulling doing all those wonders it is supposed to be able to. But what it probably can do is increase your oral health, through the emulsification process that takes place when the oil mingles with your saliva. Which actually makes sense: emulsification is basically the process that makes soap, so when you do oil pulling, you pretty much make a soap in your mouth and clean it with. For the health of your gums, tongue and teeth this can make difference, as it did for me, but take the other tall tales about oil pulling with a grain of salt.
Picture courtesy of Ryan Lackey.