Oil pulling has been around for years, and consists of using oil, such as safflower, sunflower, or coconut, to clean your mouth. Many who regularly do it say that their teeth and gums are healthier and they feel better. The basic method is to swish oil in the mouth for a few minutes every morning and is explained below.
For best results, do your oil pulling first thing in the morning before you eat or drink. Take one tablespoon of oil, and swish it around. Do not swallow it. (This is safe for children who understand swishing without swallowing, and they will use a smaller amount of oil.) “Pull” the oil through your teeth by sucking it through and using your tongue, much as you would with mouthwash. However, you don’t need to swish as vigorously as you do with mouthwash. Take it slowly.
As you pull, you may find your jaws hurting or feeling like you want to gag. Slow down, tilt your head forward, and keep the oil away from the back or your throat. If the amount is too much, spit out just a little bit and see if that works better. Yes, this takes a little getting used to, but don’t feel that you have to swish a particular way. Whatever works for you is what you need to do.
After about 20 minutes, spit out the oil and rinse with salt water. You will see that the oil is cream-colored or white, which means it pulled out the toxins in your mouth. You can do this every day, every other day, or once a week, whichever works best for you.
Tips for oil pulling:
- If you feel like you’re going to swallow the oil, spit it out and try again. Plain oil in your mouth will feel unnatural for a while. This is like any other health habit and will take time to be comfortable with. Even if you end up using 1 teaspoon of oil and pulling for 5 minutes, you’re making progress and can gradually increase your time and amount.
- Swallowing a small amount may be inevitable when you start, and is not a problem. Your stomach acids will take care of any toxins you may have swallowed.
- If your mouth or tongue gets tired, relax and go slowly. You don’t need to do it quickly.
- If you can’t handle it in the morning, or you have no time, you can do it later in the day, but your stomach needs to be empty—at least 3 hours after a meal. The reason for having an empty stomach is that you may feel nauseated with food in your belly while oil pulling. However, some feel queasy with no food in the stomach, so see what works best for you. A piece of toast eaten 3o minutes before may work for you.
- There is no need to brush or floss before oil pulling, but be sure to do so after.
Don’t be discouraged if you feel you can’t do all steps of oil pulling right away. Keep trying, and it will become as natural as brushing your teeth. Visit our blog home page for more health ideas you can start today.