The Ayurvedic treatment of oil pulling, where one swishes oil around in the mouth for up to 20 minutes, has been in use for thousands of years in India. Oil pulling is one of nature’s most efficient ways to detox the body, increase energy levels, reduce stress headaches, aid with skin issues such as rashes, acne, psoriasis and eczema, eradicate bad breath and even reduce cavities, whiten teeth, while also helping with plaque-induced gingivitis and aid in general well being.
How it works: With the mouth as home to millions of bacteria and other toxins, the oil acts like a cleanser, pulling out the toxins before they have a chance to spread throughout the body. The toxins it will help to flush out of your system include: heavy metals and pesticides, drawing these substances from the fatty tissues of the body. (This practice also forms the basis of Ayurvedic panchakarma cleansing programs.)
How to do it: Pick your oil. Lots of people use extra-virgin coconut oil as it has strong antibacterial properties, but you may want to start with cold pressed sesame oil, as it’s a bit gentler on the system. Other oils used in oil pulling include extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic and cold pressed. Whether it’s sesame, olive, or coconut oil, all contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants that are good for your gums and teeth.
Take a tablespoon of oil and swish it around your mouth for 20 minutes each morning after brushing and flossing your teeth (and using a tongue scrapper, if you’ve already adopted some Ayurvedic morning rituals). Once the 20 minutes are up, spit the oil out into the trash (not your sink, where the oil may solidify and block up the drain). Don’t rebrush. The slight oil coating is actually beneficial.
Also, don’t be alarmed, as the oil may almost double in size as it draws in saliva as well as the toxins.
Note: When you start oil pulling, you may experience some of the positive effects immediately, or it may take a few days or even weeks. It will very much depend on the state of your health to begin with, and how compromised your immune system is. Either way, stick with it, you’ll be sure to notice the benefits soon enough.