The basics of oil pulling involve swishing around a vegetable sourced oil in your mouth for several minutes. The oil pulls bacteria and their toxins out from around the teeth and gums and out of the bloodstream via the mucous membranes in the mouth. This supports not only oral health but whole body health, since those harmful bacteria can travel throughout the body to cause ill health conditions.
Keep reading to learn how oil pulling can benefit your health and how to perform the oil pulling technique in an easy step-by-step process.
What is oil pulling
Oil pulling stems back over 2000 years to Ayurvedic medicine and has since been practiced around the world. Unlike brushing or flossing your teeth, which do not reach 100% of your tooth and gum areas, the oil swishing in and around your teeth can reach all areas of your mouth to remove toxins and bacteria.
Most of the harmful organisms have a lipid or fatty cell membrane. When you swish around vegetable oil in your mouth, the oil attracts the fatty membrane of the harmful cells and they bind to each other. When you spit out the vegetable oil, all those bacteria, viruses and fungal microbes are eliminated as well.
Oil pulling advantages
- Simple and cost-effective. Basic oil pulling costs the price of a tbsp (15 ml) of a good quality vegetable oil.
- No fancy equipment or supplements are required
- It’s simple to do anywhere, whether you’re at home, at work or on vacation
Common conditions that can be improved with oil pulling
- Skin conditions
- Muscle, joint and nerve pain
- Digestive conditions
- Oral health concerns
- Respiratory issues
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Sleeping issues
- Cardiovascular conditions
- pH imbalance
- Degenerative diseases
- Blood disorders
- Organ problems
- Hormonal imbalances
- Infectious conditions
As Bruce Fife, Nutritionist and Naturopathic Physician states in his book Oil Pulling Therapy, oil pulling “is one of the most powerful forms of therapy I have ever encountered”.
How your mouth affects whole body health
There are hundreds of different bacteria living in your mouth plus hundreds of different viruses, fungi and protozoa. Some of these are helpful but others can lead to cavities and gum disease. Even though your saliva contains certain antibodies and antimicrobial agents that help fight some of these unwanted organisms, it may not be able to fight off all of them. For example, not drinking enough water can lead to insufficient amounts of saliva to keep your mouth in a healthy state. Further, eating refined carbohydrates and sugar laden foods feeds acid-producing harmful bacteria which in turn can lead to cavities and other health problems.
For decades, scientific studies have shown a correlation between heart disease and bacterial build-up in the body. Since ancient Egyptian times, it has been shown that arthritic conditions tend to occur when there is dental disease present. In 1920’s Dr Weston A Price did extensive research on dental health, diet and various systemic disease states. He and other physicians before and after him noted that when infected or decayed teeth were pulled, other health issues such as arthritis, heart disease or respiratory conditions were relieved or eliminated.
Oil pulling method
- Up to 1 tbsp / 15 ml of vegetable oil (virgin coconut oil, virgin cold-pressed olive oil, sesame or sunflower oil)
- 1 drop of pure therapeutic grade clove, tea tree, lemon, frankincense or oregano essential oil (optional but will greatly enhance the oil pulling benefits).
- Ideally start on an empty stomach, either first thing in the morning or before a meal. Drink a small glass of water to ensure you have have enough fluid for making saliva.
- Take the vegetable oil plus the optional essential oil into your mouth, making sure it’s not too full. You will create more saliva during the oil pulling procedure so leave room for it.
- Swish the oil through your teeth and around your gums for up to 20 minutes.
- If you feel that you’re building up too much mucous or saliva, spit out that oil and take in a fresh amount to continue oil pulling for the suggested 20 minutes.
- When you’ve swished the oil for 20 minutes, spit it out and rinse your mouth out with water. You can add a pinch of baking soda or himalayan salt to your water to neutralize any acids remaining in your mouth. The salt can also soothe any irritation in the mouth. Follow up with a rinse of water with a drop of peppermint essential oil to give your mouth a fresh clean taste.
It is recommended that you spit out the oil into a trash can or toilet as it can possibly clog your sink drain.
Never swallow the oil! It is now bound up with all kinds of harmful organisms that you want to eliminate by spitting it all out.
How often should you do the oil pulling method?
Consider oil pulling up to three times a day for one month to support your body in a thorough detox.
After that, oil pulling once daily or several times per week can help maintain good health.
Possible healing reactions
Even though oil pulling sounds very simple, it is actually a powerful way to detoxify the body. As toxins are dislodged and eliminated, you might notice symptoms of a healing reactions, which could include:
- mucous build-up and discharge through sinuses or coughing
- digestive upset such as nausea or loose stools
- skin outbreaks
- aches and pains, including head tension
- temporary worsening of current health issues
If you're noticing mild symptoms of a healing reaction:
- Continue with the oil pulling, making sure you’re drinking enough water.
- Try to eat a clean diet, free of junk or processed foods.
- Limit or avoid alcohol, tobacco, drugs and caffeine.
- Take a daily a non-GMO vitamin C supplement which helps to strengthen capillaries, helps to build collagen and acts as an antioxidant.
- Ensure that you’re taking in enough dietary fibre to have regular bowel movements so that toxins are quickly eliminated.
This will all help the body get rid of these excess toxins. Remember, all you’re doing is swishing oil around in your mouth, which is in itself benign and harmless. However as toxins are released from your body tissues, they can create a bit of havoc before they’re eliminated.
If you're experiencing severe symptoms of a healing reaction:
Try reducing the number of times you do the oil pulling therapy. Instead of daily, start with every other day, for example, and slowly build up to daily oil pulling. You can also reduce the time you swish the oil around in your mouth from 20 minutes to 5 minutes. Slowly increase the duration over a week or more.
If you have concerns, please speak with a trusted health practitioner.
If you’re interested in a nutritional or health consultation to support the detoxification process, please check out my services page or contact me here.
In summary, oil pulling can be one of the least invasive, most cost effective and simplest ways to detoxify your body for improved health, energy and mental clarity.
To your health,
Oil Pulling Therapy by Dr. Bruce Fife, Piccadilly Books, Ltd.
The Essential Life, 5th Edition, Total Wellness Publishing
Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation by Andreas Moritz, Ener-chi Wellness Press