This article by Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N., was featured in Sweat Equity Magazine and Sunwarrior.com.
An ancient Ayurvedic treatment, oil pulling, or oil swishing, or coconut oil mouthwash method, was introduced to the modern world in 1992 by Dr. F. Karach. MD. Dr. Karach claimed that oil pulling could cure a variety of illnesses ranging from heart disease and digestive troubles to hormonal disorders. This ancient therapy has been used successfully for thousands of years as part of a healthy daily self-care routine. Oil pulling is an easy addition to any morning routine and a safe, natural and gentle home remedy that supports oral health and hygiene. It helps to whiten your teeth, improve gum health, eliminate bad breath, and makes for a shiny smile.
Oil pulling is gaining popularity because people are having positive results with it. Beyond the benefits of whiter teeth, oil pulling is also great for overall detoxing and body cleansing. The concept is incredibly simple. Basically, a person swishes a couple teaspoons of coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes on an empty stomach, and then spits it out and rinses well.
According to Dr. Fife, author of the “Oil Pulling Therapy,” oil pulling has a very powerful detoxifying effect. “Our mouths are the home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites and their toxins. Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in our mouths. It is these types of germs and their toxic waste products that cause gum disease and tooth decay and contribute to many other health problems including arthritis and heart disease. Our immune system is constantly fighting these troublemakers. If our immune system becomes overloaded or burdened by excessive stress, poor diet, environmental toxins and such, these organisms can spread throughout the body causing secondary infections and chronic inflammation, leading to any number of health problems.”
The theory is that oil is able to cut through plaque and remove toxins without disturbing the teeth or gums. "Removing bacteria and toxins from the body eliminates a great deal of stress that results in improved energy levels," said Dr. Fife. “When we expel harmful substances from our mouths, our teeth and gums work better and last longer.”
THE BENEFITS OF OIL PULLING
• Brighter, whiter teeth
•• Healthier gums
•• Prevents bad breath
•• Increased energy
•• Clearer mind
•• Decreased headaches
• Decreased asthma
• Reduced joint pain
•• Clearer sinuses
•• Alleviated allergies
•• Better sleep
•• Clearer skin
•• Regulated menstrual cycles
•• Improved lymphatic system
•• Improved PMS symptoms
OIL PULLING TIPS:
• Put 1 teaspoon of oil into the mouth. Always use top quality organic cold-pressed, unrefined vegetable based oil (coconut, sesame or olive oil). I prefer coconut oil as it is naturally antibacterial and helps to brighten dull or yellowed teeth. It also has a milder taste than other oils. Also, the health benefits of coconut oil coupled with the cleansing action will have your skin glowing from the inside out. (Scoop it out as a solid and let it melt in your mouth before swishing. Or put the coconut oil jar in hot water for a minute so that it turns from a solid back into liquid.)
• Oil pull on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything. If that’s not feasible then anytime you can before a meal is good, too.
• Swish for 20 minutes. You want to thoroughly mix the oils with your saliva. Swishing activates the enzymes and the enzymes draw toxins out of the blood. As the process continues over 20 min, the oil gets thinner and white. That’s when you know you’ve done it long enough.
• Don’t swallow the oil because it will be filled with very toxic pathogens once pulled!
• Always spit out the oil in the garbage, since the bacteria may be harmful if spat in the sink.
• Rinse out your mouth several times with warm salty water as that removes the oil residue best, then ALWAYS follow up with a good teeth brushing to remove all bacteria and toxins further.
• Have a separate toothbrush just for brushing your teeth after oil pulling.
• Sit still while pulling. You can meditate on the actions & sensations while repeating positive affirmations or you can use this time to read an inspirational book. However, if you don’t have that kind of time everyday just start swishing as you get ready for work, take a shower, etc. Sometimes that’s just the way life rolls!
**Some people might notice a detox reaction for the first few days of oil pulling as your body is releasing toxins that may include mild congestion, headache, mucous drainage or other effects. Not everyone experiences this and I personally didn’t have any of these effects.
**There are conflicting opinions on if it is safe to do oil pulling while pregnant or nursing.
Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N., is a plant-powered, detox nutritionist and tropical yoga teacher facilitating empowering & inspiring Gracious Living Lifestyle Retreats in Nicaragua and around the world. Her mission in this lifetime is to spread the message of plant-based nutrition and self-love by teaching people how to eat and live with awareness. https://www.graciouslivingoasis.com/