As I type, I'm swishing oil between my teeth. Yup, oil. Coconut oil, sesame oil, and spearmint essential oil, to be exact.
The idea behind oil pulling makes sense. My mouth is at just the right temperature to house billions of bacteria, multiplying constantly, and feeding on the egg salad, Brussels sprouts and watermelon I had for dinner.
Inside my mouth-house are both good and bad bacteria. The bad guys cause cavities and gum disease; bad bacteria thrive on sugar, sugar is converted into acid, which erodes the enamel on teeth, and the end result are cavities. While sugar encourages the growth of this bad bacteria, my saliva counteracts the acid and gives me a more neutral pH balance.
So how does swishing oil get rid of some of the bad bacteria?
The idea behind oil "pulling" is that the oil attracts the fatty membranes of the microorganisms and they come out of their hiding places between your teeth and around your gums. The longer you oil pull (20 minutes is recommended), the more microbes are pulled free and released from your mouth when you spit out the oil solution. You're getting rid of the bad stuff and freeing up your body to fight off any infections you might have.
I personally chose this combination:
- coconut oil because it really doesn't matter what kind of oil you use and I like coconut oil for its many health benefits,
- sesame oil because historically, sesame oil was used for oil pulling, and
- spearmint essential oil because I personally need a little gum-feeling action with this new habit
I'm now 15 minutes into my oil pulling. I occasionally get the "gag" feeling but when I get that out of my head, I'm able to get back to swishing and not think too much about it. After I finish, I'll spit out the oil and clean out my mouth with fresh water (swish and spit, repeat) before brushing.
My battle against the bad bacteria will be complete for the night and I'll repeat the fight again tomorrow.
Note: the information above is my interpretation of Dr. Bruce Fife's book Oil Pulling Therapy. My amounts of oils are approximately 3/4 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a drop of spearmint essential oil. At the time of publishing this blog, I've only oil pulled once a day for three days but I plan to continue the practice with the hopes of having fresher breath, whiter teeth and stonger gums. The practice will be easier when my children aren't asking "mom, what are you doing?" and "don't make her laugh!" while pulling oil.
Have you practiced oil pulling? What's been your experience with it?