Oil Pulling for Dental and Skin Health

Source: coconut oil photo from flickr.com user Susy Morris
Source: coconut oil photo from flickr.com user Susy Morris

Oil pulling may be an ancient Ayurvedic technique, but it’s only recently stolen the spotlight in the health and beauty industry! You may have heard of oil pulling once or twice before (from that crunchy friend we all have…), or it may be completely new to you; either way, we hope our oil pulling for dental and skin health post will help you to understand and appreciate oil pulling a little better!

What it is: oil pulling is a process in which you take a spoonful (somewhere between one teaspoon and one tablespoon, depending on your comfort and preference) of organic oil and swish it around your mouth for 20 minutes. Yup, 20 whole minutes. After 20 minutes, you spit the oil into the trash.

How it works: the idea is simple — oil is sticky. When you swish the oil around your mouth, all the yucky bacteria in there gets caught and dissolves into the sticky oil. When you spit the oil out, away goes the bacteria! This includes the bacteria that causes bad breath and cavities, as well as any other potentially destructive bacteria that would normally enter into your system.

Remember, after 20 minutes in your mouth, the oil is filled with bacteria. Never, ever swallow your oil after oil pulling! Spit it into the trash (or a baggie if spitting into the trash grosses you out) when you’re done. Spitting into the sink or shower could potentially clog your pipes.

What it does: those who practice oil pulling absolutely swear by its effectiveness. There are many reported benefits, but the most common benefits of oil pulling include the following…

  • Whiter teeth
  • Fresher breath/reduced halitosis
  • Stronger tooth, gums, and jaw
  • Reduced risk of cavities and gingivitis
  • Relief from headaches and even hangovers
  • Improved sleep
  • Clearer sinuses (allergy-sufferers swear it helps!)
  • Body detoxification
  • Reduced general pain
  • Hormone balancing actions
  • Reduced tooth sensitivity

Aside from overall body benefits, everyone who oil pulls mentions at least some form of skin care benefits. Reports from oil pullers include reduced acne, reduced eczema, reduced psoriasis, healthier skin moisture levels, improved radiance, and more. Those who don’t normally experience skin care issues can still see the benefits of oil pulling in overall skin health and comfort.

If you’re interested in oil pulling, the first thing you need to do is choose an oil! Types of oil for oil pulling most commonly include coconut oil, olive oil, sesame seed oil, avocado oil, or sunflower seed oil. What you choose is entirely up to you; just be sure it’s organic! Most people choose coconut oil because it has a pleasant flavor and texture and has natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties which will boost the benefits of oil pulling.

The next step is to get over the shock of having oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. It seems like such a long time, but choose 20 minutes that makes sense for you, and you’ll be fine! Check emails, read the latest People, watch a favorite show…Anything to keep your brain active for 20 minutes will make it seem like no time. In fact, many oil pullers find the 20 minutes of “nothingness” very relaxing!

Lastly, a note on when you shouldn’t oil pull. Opinions and experiences vary when it comes to exemption from oil pulling, so the best thing is to do your own research and decide what you’re comfortable with. That said, some sources state that women shouldn’t oil pull while pregnant or breastfeeding.

People also disagree on whether one should oil pull if they have braces, crowns, fillings, or dentures. Let’s look at each of these separately…

  1. Oil pulling with crowns should be avoided. Some people report that the oil loosens their crowns, sometimes even causing them to fall out. Simply put, you’re better safe than sorry when it comes to oil pulling with crowns.
  2. Oil pulling with braces is technically safe and could help resolve common issues seen with braces like bad breath. However, oil pulling may cause teeth to whiten around the braces, which may leave an imprint on the teeth after the braces are removed.
  3. Oil pulling with fillings has mixed reviews. Some state they’ve never had a problem, others say they experience discomfort or even feelings of illness after oil pulling with fillings.
  4. Oil pulling with dentures is safe; however, the dentures should be removed before oil pulling.

So, there you have it! Oil pulling, while seemingly odd and a bit crunchy-sounding for some, seems to have some true benefits. However, please note that while we are interested in oil pulling and believe that it could benefit one’s health and skin, our opinions are never meant to replace the advice of a doctor, or be taken as medical advice. We’re skin care lovers and experts — not doctors!!

Have you tried oil pulling? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience! 

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