If you have been reading this blog for a while you probably know that I love using oils in my beauty routine. Well oral care is no exception. I've been thinking about oil pulling for a while but was just too grossed out! I put my big girl panties on and decided to start. There are so many benefits to this ancient Auyervedic practice that it seems crazy not to do it.
What is oil pulling?
Swishing oil in your mouth to draw out the toxins and bacteria that live in your mouth.
The theory is that oils are similar in their makeup to toxins and bacteria. Think of oil as a liquid magnet moving through your mouth and attracting all of the metals. By swishing and pulling the oil through your mouth and teeth you are accumulating a large amount of saliva that contains toxins that you would have swallowed throughout the day.
Uh, come again?!?
Okay, let's break things down a bit.
Indians ...in India have been oil pulling for thousands of years. This is an Ayurvedic practice for good oral health. Our mouths are subjected to all sorts of things. From the foods we eat, to that dirty pen you chew on when you are nervous to that 2 year old lipstick you still use. Bacteria and toxins exist everywhere, especially in the mouth. Its moist in there and sometimes we don't floss properly and germs just love that!
It's estimated that we swallow about 2000 times per day. This means that whatever is lingering in your mouth ends up in your gut which... studies on oil pulling suggest that this is what causes things like the flu and common cold. In fact, many people who have been oil pulling for years swear by it and state that they have not gotten sick and owe it all to oil pulling. My advice... everyone is different and responds differently to remedies. But with great diet in place anything is possible.
Benefits of oil pulling
whitens teeth by stripping the plaque build up
helps with bad breath by drawing out the toxins that may be causing it
aids in preventing gingivitis
can help with dry cracked lips
How to oil pull
Okay I am just going to get straight to it.
You put a teaspoon of food grade oil (I use coconut oil) in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes. Why 20 minutes? Because studies show that this is enough time to draw out all of the toxins and harmful bacteria in your mouth. At the same time your don't want to exceed 20 minutes because your mouth will start to absorb the saliva/toxins back into your body.
Okay so here are a few tips
1. do this when you first wake up
To make the time go by I will do a few things around the house. I make the bed, iron my husband's clothes for work, feed the dog, prep ingredients for my morning smoothie, check my emails and totally engross myself in my phone. Some people work out or shower and dress for the day. Whatever works for you! 20 minutes is a looonnng time to do this so you will want to occupy your mind so that you don't have to feel every single minute.
2. At first this will be a daunting task. If you are like me then you will have to build up to 20 minutes. The first day that I tried this I only lasted about 5 mintues. The sensation of swishing oil and saliva in my mouth totally grossed me out and made me gag. Gag, that's another thing.... this will test your gag reflexes for sure.. but trust me, everyday you will get better and have more control. My advice is to do it for as long as you can stand it then try to improve on that time the next day. It took me a week to build up to a solid 20 minutes and believe me, those last 5 minutes seem to take forever! Once, I swear the clock went backwards!
Me ... this morning, 16 minutes in!
Please excuse my crazy eyebrows and yes I am wearing clothes.
3. Towards the end of the 20 minutes your mouth will start to get full. you may feel some of it dripping down your throat and your instinct to swallow will take over. No worries! This is natural! Remember, we swallow 2000 times a day, do you remember each time? Of course not! It's all subconscious, this is something that will improve as well. If you swallow a little it's ok, nothing harmful will come of it so don't panic. If it feels full in your mouth and uncomfortable and you can't take it anymore then spit, get more oil and continue where you left off.
4. When your time is up be sure to spit into the trashcan. Why? Because the oils can solidify and clog up your drains. I usually am hanging out on the porch and just spit onto the grass. My neighbors must think I am so gross. Your spit will be a milky white color because it now contains all of those gross toxins and bacterias that you would have swallowed throughout the day!
5. After this I brush with baking soda and go on with my day.
Need help deciding on a coconut oil? Try this one!
Want more info on oil pulling? Check out this book!