How To: Oil Pulling

Contributor: Ashley Neese
Photographer: Ashley Neese
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Today I want to share a practice that has done wonders for my dental and oral health, oil pulling. This ancient Ayurvedic practice known as kavala or gundusha, helps reduce bacteria and plaque in the mouth as well as strengthen teeth. I started oil pulling a few years ago and have been doing it regularly for the last year. My last three dental visits were amazing and my teeth are super sparkly.

Oil pulling is super easy. Swish 1-2 teaspoons of  coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes and spit it out. The oil pulls out the toxins stored in your salivary glands. The less toxins you have in our mouth the less bacteria and plaque will accumulate.

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There are many folks out there that make all kinds of claims about oil pulling. Traditionally it was done with sesame oil but I prefer coconut oil as it has so many antibacterial and antiviral properties. Here are two studies one regrading gingivitis and this one on microrganisms that go into more detail. I’ve tried all sorts of seemingly odd health remedies and oil pulling has worked really well for me. Oil pulling along with daily flossing, brushing, and morning tongue scraping has my dentist asking me what I do. I actually educated him on oil pulling a while back and now he’s recommending it to his patients!

The first few times I tried oil pulling I couldn’t do it for more than ten minutes, my jaw was tired and I was scared I was going to swallow all of the toxins back down. Now I can do 20 minutes no problem. It’s totally fine to work your way up. If your jaw is exhausted you are probably swishing too hard, slow and steady here! The oil will get thicker as you swish (it doubles in size). It takes about 20 minutes for the plaque in your mouth to breakdown. Not to worry though, that isn’t long enough for the body to reabsorb the toxins.

Some folks prefer to start with melted coconut oil. I use it as-is, it will melt quickly in your mouth. Whatever you decide be sure to purchase high quality, raw organic oil.

Oil pulling has become part of my morning ritual. I like to do it after I meditate while I am making my breakfast. It’s important to spit out the oil into the trash as it can eventually clog the drain. Afterwards I rinse my mouth well with water and brush my teeth. I oil pull about five times a week and that has worked well for me, it is safe to do everyday if you like.