Friday, 12 August 2016

Oil Pulling for Dummies

Oil pulling for dummies fitness post

I don’t even like the taste of coconut but I pretty much use this versatile fruit every day. More specifically, I use coconut oil and the more I research around the subject, the more I find myself wanting to incorporate it into my life.

My latest experiment doesn’t involve eating the oil, nor does it require me to rub it into my skin or hair. What I’ve actually been toying with is a long established oral hygiene technique called oil pulling.

I’d like to think that I have a fairly solid oral hygiene regimen – I brush my teeth at least twice a day and sometimes floss. I’d imagine that about matches 90% of the UK population. A recent trip to the dentist drew attention to flossing so I’m doing that more than I used to and I suppose it does make my gob feel a little cleaner.

I’m not a massive fan of going to the dentist. This isn’t because I’m in any way frightened or anxious about having someone poke and prod me because I’m genuinely not. What I’m more concerned about is whether they’re telling me the truth. I one heard that dentists are among the biggest cowboys around, selling products and procedures that are completely unnecessary and preying on the trust and anxiety of the masses. This has stuck with me so I’m always questioning their advice and trying to suss out whether I’m being lied to.

Anyway, enough about my trust issues!

My last visit to the dentist resulted in me being advised that I have 2 cavities that need filling. I was pretty gutted as I’m only 29 years old and would like to think that I’m in fairly good all-round health. This got me wondering whether, aside from cutting back on sugary foods and flossing more, there was anything I could do to either reverse the damage or at least limit any future similar damage.

Enter oil pulling…

Now, I’ve only done this a few times so far but I’ll give you as much as I know for you to make your own mind up as to whether it’s something you want to try for yourself.

Oil Pulling is a technique with its origins deeply rooted in India. It’s often grouped within the Ayurvedic class of medicine which is still very much one of the go-to medicinal systems in India today.


Traditionally using sesame, olive or coconut oil, oil pulling simply involves swishing oil around in your mouth and then spitting it out. It’s kind of that simple but the benefits of the practice can be maximised by using the following protocol:
  • Use 1-2 tablespoons of cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
  • Perform oil pulling first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything
  • Let the oil (which will be solid at most room temperatures) melt in your mouth
  • Gently swish the oil around your mouth for 5-20 minutes
  • If it hurts your jaw, you’re trying too hard
  • Spit into organic waste bin (it has potential to clog up pipes
  • After oil pulling, will your mouth out with sea salt water and then brush your teeth as normal


Coconut oil has anti fungal and antimicrobial properties. It’s also been shown to balance hormones, burn body fat, moisturise skin etc. This is why many experts suggest using this instead of sesame oil, for example, which is actually pretty high in omega-6 fatty acids which we generally get too much of anyway.

Science is now catching up with this technique and supporting oil pulling through research. Studies are showing that this protocol reduces the build up of plaque, controls halitosis and improves general oral health. If you need more information, you should check out this Oil Pulling Research.

Using warm salt water after pulling might be a good idea because of the added antimicrobial effects and I’m even considering adding a drop of peppermint essential oil to the coconut oil for a fresh blast that will not only make my breath smell amazing but also improve my memory and alertness! More can be found in this Peppermint Essential Oil Research.

If this all sounds like too much effort, it’s really not. I’m very easily getting into the habit of waking up, walking to the bathroom, putting a spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth and then swishing it around while I take a shower. You’ve just got to care enough about your health.


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