Benefits of Oil pulling

What the hell is Oil Pulling?

Benefits of Oil pulling

Have you heard about oil pulling? Suddenly everybody and their mother can’t shut up about it. Last week, I had literally never heard of it. Fast forward to today, and I’ve read no fewer than seven articles on the subject on some of my favorite blogs and websites.

My favorite comments, as always, are the self-congratulatory ones along these lines: “Oh, you guys, I’ve been doing oil pulling forever. It’s been years. I’m so happy everybody is finally catching up. Western medicine is the worst! zzzzz.”

So what exactly is it?

Oil pulling, so they say, is an Ayurvedic practice that originated in India thousands of years ago. A teaspoon of oil–preferably sesame oil, with coconut oil a modern favorite–is swished around in the mouth for up to 20 minutes. (TWENTY MINUTES.) Eventually, the oil will turn milky white, which means it’s pulling out all the bacteria from your mouth, gums and insides, leaving you with whiter teeth, fresh breath, zero cavities, no acne, hangover-free, and a treasure map to the Holy Grail.

Don’t spit the oil in the sink or your toilet, otherwise you’ll clog the pipes, so you’re supposed to get rid of it in the trash, which kind of freaks me out. I don’t trust my garbage bags that much, and my inner Virgo squirms at the idea of oil dripping on the floor as I make the long trek to the bins outside. But I digress.

Jezebel interviewed Dr. Sanda Moldovan, who said: “When we improve oral health, we improve so many other things in the body. People with bad oral hygiene have higher incidence for cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and strokes, and a higher incidence for pneumonia. Men with periodontal disease have a greater risk of erectile dysfunction. Even with diabetes, improved oral health can help control problems in diabetic patients. Also, pregnant women with gum disease have lower birth-weight babies. Yes — everything is connected.”

There you have it.

The only reason I haven’t actually tried this myself yet is you’re supposed to do it first thing in the morning, and it’s usually about 2 hours and several food items into the day before I remember: “Oh, yeah. That oil pulling thing…”

I will get around to it eventually–probably–and in the event I become a crazy convert, will report back. If you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear what your experiences have been!

UPDATE: I tried it. It was…fine, but I don’t see it becoming a part of my daily (or monthly, or yearly) routine.


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  1. Kim

    A friend is obsessed and has posted pulling PSAs on his fb feed once a month forever. I tried it and found I didn’t like having to spit a dozen times each morning and have my trash bin looking soaked so I bailed. From what I could see there is no science to back it up other than if folks are paying enough attention to their mouths to remember to pull they’re also bothering to remember to floss and brush, but it does no harm so it’s up to you.

  2. OMG, my trainer and I were literally JUST talking about this on Monday. He’s convinced it’s a giant joke…which, it kinda sounds like it is?