Oil pulling is an age-old remedy rooted in Ayurvedic medicine that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums. It has the added effect of whitening teeth naturally and evidence even shows that it may be beneficial for gum health and that certain oils may help fight harmful bacteria in the mouth!
What is Oil Pulling?
The practice of oil pulling (also called gundusha) started in India thousands of years ago, and from my research, was first introduced to the United States in the early 1990s by a medical doctor named Dr. F. Karach, who used it with success in his medical practice.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Oil pulling seems to be a practice with a plethora of anecdotal support but a lack of extensive scientific studies (though there are some… see below). Most sources do agree that oil pulling is safe, but debate how effective it is. Though more research is needed to determine any scientific backing to oil pulling, I’ve noticed the benefits personally and dozens of readers swear by its effectiveness as well.
In fact, in my original research, I found hundreds of testimonials online from people who experienced benefits from oil pulling, including help with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems and more.
Though I’ve done this for a few years, my only personal experience is with increased oral health (no plaque) and less sensitive (and whiter!) teeth. I’ve heard several experts explain how bacteria and infection can enter the blood through the mouth, it does make sense that addressing these infections could have an impact in other parts of the body, I just haven’t had personal experience with this.
At the very least, I think that oil pulling can be very beneficial and has no downside as long as a quality oil (that is high enough quality to eat) is used and it is done correctly. Oil pulling is a very inexpensive therapy that could potentially have great benefit on oral health, so I see no downside to trying it and I have used it myself for several years.
How to Oil Pull
The concept is incredibly simple. Basically, a person swishes a couple teaspoons of a vegetable based oil (coconut, sesame or olive) in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spits it out and rinses well. Oil pulling is best done in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, though Dr. Bruce Fife suggests that it can be done before each meal if needed for more severe infections or dental problems.