Oil pulling is a simple and inexpensive home therapy that can be used to cleanse the mouth as well as help detoxify the body. It is a time-honored Ayurvedic natural remedy from India that was rediscovered and developed by Dr. F. Karach, a Ukrainian doctor who coined the term “oil pulling”. Through the activation of enzymes in the oral cavity and saliva, it pulls toxins, pathogens and wastes out of the mouth and from the circulating blood, and, because the teeth are connected to the rest of the body through the Meridian lines, draws toxins out of the rest of the body as well. In doing so, it helps to improve oral health by preventing tooth decay, bleeding gums, bad breath, plaque and bacterial infections, while also improving all sorts of systemic ailments and diseases.
The method is quite simple. All that is involved is the swishing of a high-quality oil in the mouth for twenty minutes. The cost of this remedy is the cost of the oil. The traditional oil used is sesame oil, but sunflower, coconut and olive oil are also popular today, especially coconut oil due to its many health benefits. This remedy is done in the morning upon waking up and can become a part of your daily routine without adding too much more time or effort.
Because the oil pulls toxins out of your mouth and body, it is important to not add to this toxin overload by using organic, cold-pressed oils. Cold-pressed means the oil is extracted from the plant or seed through slow, mechanical methods (e.g. the pressing of the seeds) with little heat so as not to denature the oil through heat. Many oils are extracted using chemicals like hexane – this is not indicated on the label, so buying organic helps to reduce exposure to solvents, synthetic fertilizers, weed killers, pesticides, etc. used during the growing and processing stages of the plant and its oil. Since you are drawing chemicals and impurities out of your system, you would not want the reabsorption of such from the oils that you use.
How to Do Oil Pulling:
In the morning, before eating, on an empty stomach:
- Take one tablespoon (approx. 10 ml to 15 ml) of an organic, cold-pressed oil in the mouth. Do not swallow.
- Swish oil slowly in the mouth, chewing on it and mixing it with your saliva. Push and pull oil through the teeth, across teeth, sideways, up, down, over tongue and every which way inside the mouth. The oil becomes thinner as it mixes with your saliva. Do not swallow; do not gargle as it can get down your throat.
- After 20 minutes, spit out oil or discard it in the garbage can. The discarded oil should be thin and white, not its original yellow color or consistency. If it is thin and white, it is fully used. If it is still yellow, it should be pulled for longer at the next session.
- Rinse mouth thoroughly with water and brush your teeth as usual. Optional: Some people like to add the additional step of rinsing with ½ teaspoon sea salt or baking soda dissolved in 1 cup water, before brushing.
- Clean the sink well, as the spittle contains bodily wastes and pathogenic microbes.
And that’s all there is to it!
Additional Notes on Oil Pulling:
- If desired, oil pulling can be done three times a day, before meals and on an empty stomach.
- Always do oil pulling on an empty stomach as you might feel nausea. The sensation of raw oil in the mouth may take some getting used to. You can also build up gradually from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.
- The size of the tablespoon varies from country to country (7 ml to 20 ml), so it is only an approximation. Use an amount that is enough to fill the oral cavity, yet can still be comfortably swished in the mouth (e.g. I use a dining tablespoon rather than a measurement tablespoon).
- If desired, a few drops of oil of oregano extract can be added to the oil to help further detoxify the body.
- If it is hard to find cold-pressed oils, the second-best option is expeller-pressed oils (i.e. the oil is refined through mechanical means).
- Some sources say that sesame and sunflower oils are the most effective. Some say coconut oil is less effective, but many people use it due to its good taste, smell and antimicrobial properties.
- Coconut oil becomes a solid when the temperature drops below 76° F (25° C) . In wintertime, measure the solid coconut oil as usual – it will melt in your mouth. Do not liquefy it in the microwave oven as this will denature the oil.
- If you are concerned about bacteria accumulating on your toothbrush after oil pulling, you can soak it in vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, salt or hot water. Or, use a second toothbrush solely for use after oil pulling.
- Ways to pass the time: do oil pulling while showering, preparing breakfast, making the bed, checking email, watching the morning news, etc.
The Benefits of Oil Pulling
Although oil pulling has been a traditional Indian folk remedy since ancient times, it was Dr. Karach who introduced it to the modern world when he presented a paper before a conference attended by oncologists and bacteriologists of the Academy of Science of the USSR. Oil pulling is not a cure for any specific disease, but according to Dr. Karach, it has helped to heal headaches, arthritis, bronchitis, tooth pain, eczema, ulcers and diseases of the stomach, intestines, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs and nerves, among many other things. Additionally, users of oil pulling have reported that it has helped them with these conditions: acne, allergies, asthma, back pains, constipation, gum infections, hemorrhoids, headaches, mucous congestion, periodontal disease, tooth abscesses, PMS … and more. It is not surprising that oil pulling can reach all parts of the body since the Meridian lines connect the teeth to the rest of the body.
I have been doing oil pulling for a year and a half. I feel it helps to keep my teeth cleaner and gums healthier. There have been a couple of molars that used to shift slightly that now feel less loose, and I attribute this to oil pulling. I know that it works to improve oral health. I use both sesame and coconut oils, but it seems that sesame oil works a little bit better for me.
One user of oil pulling stated that it works so well for him that, along with a few other alternative therapies, he is able to maintain complete oral health without the need to see a dentist any more. Wow. Good to know that it has the potential to help maintain good oral health indefinitely. A good health maintenance routine will go a long way towards prevention, and there is no better time to start preparing than the present. Oil pulling is one therapy I will keep in my arsenal of natural remedies.
If you do oil pulling, please let me know of your experiences.
For more information on the science of oil pulling and research, see:
Oil Pulling – A Wonderful Therapy