Ever heard of oil pulling? I hadn’t until a couple of weeks ago, but now I’m starting to see articles about the benefits of oil pulling all over the place. I was even chatting with one of my friends in the dietetics program with me about oil pulling and she said she went over it in her yoga teacher class. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurveda (translation: life knowledge) technique that involves swishing a small amount of oil in your mouth for twenty minutes, first thing in the morning, in an effort to draw out toxins that are sitting in your tongue and around your mouth. Ayurveda believes that the preventative cure for a lot of diseases is by properly treating and maintaining the digestive system, and the mouth is the first and one of the most important steps to good digestive health.
After hearing really good things from both my friend and the article, I decided to do a little more research, just to make sure this wasn’t totally insane. Turns out, it’s not insane. There’s no proof that it cures cavities they way some people claim, but it can help promote gum and teeth health. Even the NIH did some research and found that oil pulling is a good thing.
Here are the supposed benefits of oil pulling:
- Strengthens gums and teeth and may make teeth whiter
- Prevention of diseases such as cavities and gingivitis
- Prevention of bad breath
- Aids in skin health and may reduce eczema and/or acne
- Improves vision
- Detoxifies the body of harmful metals and enzymes
The list of benefits goes on and on, but very few of these have been proven by scientific, peer-reviewed studies. The scientific, peer-reviewed studies recommend oil pulling in combination with twice daily teeth brushing and that it can be effective as a replacement for mouthwashes such as Listerine.
So I decided to try it, because that’s what I do. And I hated it. Maybe I’m doing it at the wrong time of the day, or maybe I just have a lot of toxins built up in my mouth, or maybe both is true, but every time I’ve tried oil pulling (3 times now) I’ve gotten an awful headache that just won’t go away. My research tells me its a toxin withdrawal, which could be true, so I haven’t completely given up hope. I’m using coconut oil and following all of the instructions that I’ve seen, so I’m just not sure what adjustments to make.
Have you guys tried oil pulling? What did you think? Any tips?