Sometime last year, oil pulling was all over the internet. Suddenly, the whole world was gargling with oil and claiming that it cured everything from skin problems, right down to fixing their kitchen sinks.
It took me a while to get on the trend, but now that it has died down a little, I figure it’s the best time to jump on the bandwagon and see what this oil pulling is all about.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is when you gargle and 'pull' a tablespoon of oil through your teeth. This is believed to have many benefits.
A quick search on the internet will show you that the benefits of oil pulling seem to be endless. Oil pulling is supposed to be able to detox the body, increase energy, whiten teeth, aid in hormonal changes, reduce headaches, clear the skin and promote oral hygiene. Some people even claim that oil pulling can improve the lymphatic system, improve PMS symptoms, alleviate allergies and much more.
Well, if we were to believe these claims, then it would seem that oil pulling alone can solve a lot of our problems. What better way to find out than to test these claims!
I was to gargle everyday for three weeks with extra virgin coconut oil and note down the effects of doing so.
How to oil pull:
Gargle and ‘pull’ a spoonful of coconut, sunflower or sesame oil between your teeth for 10 - 20 minutes. After gargling, brush your teeth as you usually do.
Due to time constraints and to the fact that it wasn’t easy having coconut oil in my mouth for 20 minutes, I only gargled for a maximum of 10 minutes and many times less than that a day (about 5 minutes).
Top left: Day 1, Top right: Midway day 10, bottom: Final results, day 21
My teeth seem slightly whiter (after just three weeks) and more evenly white as well. There is no scientific evidence to back up this claim, just that my teeth look a tad bit whiter to me. But that might be because it feels cleaner which leads to the next point.
Usually after brushing my teeth, it doesn’t take long for my teeth to feel ‘fuzzy’ (you know what I’m talking about). Which leads to brushing them again. However, I noticed that with oil pulling, my mouth maintained its fresh feel. This could be because oil pulling has been proven to reduce the number of Streptococcus Mutans bacteria in the mouth. Streptococcus Mutans is one of the main causes of plaque build-up and tooth decay.
Improves bad breath
After coffee, my mouth didn’t have its usual ‘coffee-breath’. Makes sense considering it reduces the microorganisms causing halitosis, causing my breath to smell less.
This is not scientifically backed at all, but I noticed that I felt fresh the next day even if I had a few glasses of wine the night before. Some people claim that oil pulling helps detox the body, ‘pulling’ oil out through the mouth. We may never know until someone does some research but for now, it would seem that it helps. However please note, this was after 2 or 3 glasses of wine, and not after a huge weekend bender.
After three weeks of oil pulling, while I didn’t see any noticeable difference as some claim to have experienced, I did notice a difference in my mouth. In short, I believe that oil pulling is a great, natural replacement for commercial mouthwashes. It helps keep the mouth clean, breath fresh, and I do believe it slightly whitens the teeth as well. All in all, worth it.
I’m definitely continuing with oil pulling.
Have any of you tried it? What did you think?