What’s up with the oil pulling thing?

oil pulling face!

Oil pulling face!

Sometimes I get lost on the internet. I go online to research prices on antique silverware, yadda yadda yadda, I’m reading about oil pulling. So easily distracted!

I also find interest in a whole lot of things and am always open to trying something new. So when I read some of the benefits of oil pulling, I was interested but remain pretty darn skeptical.

Here’s what I read that I find believable:

That it’s good for your oral health. The fact that you’re spending such a concentrated amount of time swishing anything around in your mouth is bound to have a positive impact on your gum health. Probably as much as water, but not as much as flossing.

That it’s good for your skin. If your mouth is healthy, your complexion is likely to be as well. Some of the worst complexion and sinus problems I’ve had were when I was dealing with overcoming an abscessed tooth. (OMG, don’t ever get to that point. Dentist! Just go.)

Then we get into a rather obscure area of claims from the “I kinda see how that could be true” to the “What? No way it cures cancer.”

A little history from Wikipedia (Yeah, I totally just referenced Wikipedia.):

Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, where it is called Kavala Gandoosha or Kavala Graha. Ayurvedic literature describes oil pulling as capable of both improving oral health and treating systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or asthma.[1] While scientific evidence is lacking to support any systemic benefits of oil pulling, some studies have suggested that it may reduce oral plaque, halitosis, and gingivitis.[1][2][3][4][5] These studies all show that either chlorhexidine or oils can reduce plaque if included in a regular or routine oral healthcare program among those with high plaque scores and don’t show that oils themselves improve scores, but rather that proper oral healthcare does.

I’ve been using coconut oil, which actually has quite a bit in the way of documented health benefits. Plus it tastes hella better than almost any other kind of oil that you have to keep in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.

Around 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on Earth.

Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that can actually destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

…Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are easily digested and readily cross cell membranes. MCFAs are immediately converted by your liver into energy rather than being stored as fat.

So here’s what you do. You take a tablespoon of oil (did I suggest coconut oil?) and put it in your mouth. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so it’ll melt as you swish it around. I usually just set the timer on my iPhone, then go sit on the couch and gently swish for 10 minutes. It’s not a strength challenge, so no need to go all power swish, just move it around your mouth, get it between your teeth, all around your gums. If you get an urge to swallow, just hold it in the front of your mouth and swallow nothing, as in don’t swallow the oil. -Kind of like you do at the dentist. Once you’re done, spit it out anywhere but the sink because once it solidifies again you’ll have a nasty clog. The toilet is OK, some folks spit it into a paper towel and throw it in the trash. After you spit, rinse your mouth out with salt water, then brush your teeth. This isn’t meant to be a replacement for routine oral hygiene.

What I like about it:

It’s kinda meditative, and I need all of that I can get in my life. It forces you to sit and relax for a few minutes. I really do feel like my mouth is cleaner and maybe it’s due to extra attention, but my skin is looking pretty awesome right now. As a child I was plagued with canker sores and still get them from time to time. While I’ve been oil pulling I haven’t gotten any, but time will tell.

Have you tried it? What did it do for you?